OPINION: Google Meets Accessibility


Julia Shearer

Google Meets should be used for students with special exceptions in order to not fall behind in school.

Opinions expressed in the Op/Ed section of The Knight Crier are not necessarily reflective of the views of the entire staff of the KC. 

Last school year, the learning environment nationwide was altered; having students learn through a screen. While most of us never want to see that again in our schools, there are still some minor aspects of that learning style that could benefit students who are back in school.

As someone who is heavily involved in athletics, and sacrifices school days and weekends for traveling, it can be hard to keep up with all of my work. Missing multiple Thursdays, Fridays, and Mondays due to late flights and games can pile up, along with the missed work that comes with it. Since google meets are easily accessible and can be used anywhere that is necessary, they are helpful for those like me who miss many days of school for outside events.

Last year when I was in this situation and needed to find a way to know what I was missing, the online learning style proved to be very resourceful. Being able to attend classes virtually in my hotel room or in the airport, though not ideal, was a way for me to keep up with my learning and work that needed to be done. This year, since that option is no longer available, I am left with a lot of stress over missing tests and in-class assignments that I do not have access to online.

Here at North Penn, entering google meets is strictly limited to students who have been exposed to, or have, Covid. Though that logic makes sense, I believe that the policy could bear to be more lenient, depending on different students’ circumstances. 

From a teacher’s perspective, setting up a google meet takes more effort than necessary, since a majority of the class is in person. If desired for students not present in person, there could be a posted agenda or assignment so the student can still be filled in, just from a distance.

It is argued that some students may try to take advantage of this new opening, which is most likely true. The intention of my wish is not to open up the online learning environment again, but to just have it available when students actually need it. To be able to access google meets, there should be a policy in which students must state their reasoning for needing this, and later be approved based on the validity of it.

To be able to utilize google meets, the student should request access to it well in advance of their absences. Doing this and allowing teachers to prepare for the setup and online assignments would result in the process running smoothly for both student and teacher. Though it can be minorly inconvenient for teachers, having a week’s notice will ensure that they are prepared to provide a strong yet comfortable temporary online learning experience.

Communication would play a huge role in this process, meaning the student would have to reach out to many people; including administrators as well as all of their teachers. Making sure that everyone involved is in the know will make this process easier. 

Tying back to needing valid reasoning for online access, if the student really wanted to move forward with the process then they would bring their needs to the administrators, who would aid them with setting up their online accessibility. If their request is approved, the steps following would flow easily from there.

Once approved for temporary online learning, the student would take responsibility and contact all of their teachers, explaining the circumstances and what needs to be done to meet their needs. Taking control and being responsible for working out their own schedule is how the student would ensure a smooth transition into google meet classes.

Many disagree with the idea of bringing back the temporary google meet learning style, but what they fail to acknowledge is that working online is a huge part of our lives today. In the past few years, especially during covid, people have begun to work from home, and they do almost everything on a computer. Though it is still foreign to learn from home on a school basis, the idea should not be entirely shut out just because of its abnormality.

On the other side of things, I believe that modernizing learning could actually be a good thing for our education. Straying away from the traditional format of education may take some adjusting, but its convenience and benefits could change how we view modern learning.

Overall, for the select students who deal with the same struggles of missing short periods of school for various reasons, having an easily accessible option to tune into class can alleviate the stress and academic burdens that come with being absent.