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April 11, 2020 (transferred from WordPress)

Zoom + Zombie = Zoombie

(Also, did anyone ever play Zoombinis in school? Best part of elementary school…! ) Zoom has taken over the lives of teachers and students everywhere. While the tool has some amazing features and has certainly saved the day for education amid the COVID 19 pandemic, I’m finding it has some side effects. Namely: physical tension, exhaustion, attention confusion and anxiety.

Apart from the sheer number of hours devoted to zoom each day, I find myself detrimentally reacting to the inherent flaws of online learning.

  • People don’t fit in my laptop! I have a rather small laptop, and when there is a sizable zoom gathering, I’m finding myself squinting and physically becoming smaller to relate to the faces stuck in a 1-2 inch square.

  • Spent energy. To all my introverts out there- you know that exhausting person who requires all of your attention and energy when you are in a conversation?? That’s your computer!!! It’ll take as much energy as you will give it (and more…)

  • Attention confusion. Okay, hear me out on this- sometimes I find that I am incredibly distracted on zoom. There’s so much to take in! So many people living in 1 inch boxes on my laptop…

    • I was teaching a scales class to a bunch of HS students (that I had never met before) and the people in the foremost upper corner of my zoom grid were: the orchestra director, an observing colleague, and ME. Instead of focusing on the 15 students on zoom I was teaching, I found my attention drawn to the only 3 people I wasn’t teaching … it felt like I was teaching myself

    • (*side note- I totally understand why some professors are having little soliloquys moments on zoom.)

  • Anxiety. If you had asked me a few months ago I’d say that I had a mild case of video call phobia, but there’s no room for that anymore! I’m finding that I enjoy interacting online with people I know…but when I have to interact with strangers via zoom, whether for a meeting, interview, or teaching I get incredibly anxious.

Anyways, as someone who thrives on human interaction and physical movement, I’m doing some serious adjusting to this computer lifestyle. I have no advice, but here are some things I will try.

  • Look away from my computer! Hopefully I won’t seem disengaged…but I tend to learn better if I’m just listening

  • Change environments. I want to try changing where I am sitting as much as possible. Even if that means just sitting on the floor or something (and maybe I can do some yoga poses or something…)

  • Take my time when teaching (aka be okay with silence!) For whatever reason, a second of silence feels like an eternity of deadtime when online, and I’m finding myself trying to rush over it with information. But, it actually it takes a second for people to unmute and speak, so I need to allow even more reaction time than I would if I were teaching in person.

  • Avoid my face! Maybe I can put a sticky note over my video square…seriously, I don’t want to talk to myself!!!

Who knows!?! Best of luck to you in your online life! (ALSO, I can’t stop thinking about Zoombinis now…anyone else want to play??)

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