Text & Image: Kevin Li
Going on Zoom multiple times a day is not easy, but we cope with it. How well we cope with a life filled by Zoom meetings is an entirely different story. When the pandemic first struck and real life was replaced by a range of virtual meetings and activities, students across the world cheered while thinking about the prospect of not having proper school for two weeks. Unfortunately, the two weeks became a month, then a two months lockdown, and depending on where in the world you are, maybe even longer. As the light in the proverbial end of the tunnel gradually grew dimmer and unreachable, students and adults alike found (sometimes pantsless) ways to help soothe the pain of Zoom.
Zoom meetings in early Covid-19 times versus what these meetings became over a year into the pandemic are two different worlds. In March 2020, there were people who would set an alarm for thirty minutes before their meetings so they had time to do their morning routines, get dressed and grab a cup of coffee. And during the meeting, there were still somewhat active and enthusiastic participation and contribution. Now? Not so much. Alarms are set at 7:59 for 8am meetings, cameras stay turned off to conceal the messy morning hair, awkward silences are dominating many Zoom calls, even when there are conversations taking place, you can clearly hear the deeper voice of someone who just woke up, trying to concentrate and keep up.
From a personal perspective, as someone who has experienced lockdown and online technologies for educational purposes since January 2020 because I was in Beijing, I can attest to how student’s attitudes have changed over the past year and a half. The most memorable incident of which was when a fellow classmate forgot to mute herself and the whole class was just following the dialogue from a Netflix show on her laptop. Aside from such silly accidents, I’ve also seen some quite peculiar things during the era of Zoom. In classes, we are all accustomed to seeing similar backgrounds of the homes of our fellow classmates, but every once in a while, a surprise comes our way. Within the span of a few days in between Zoom meetings, the movie posters on the white walls of a certain home could suddenly morph into a tropical backdrop with sunshine and palm trees, or sometimes even taking us on a cable car in a ski resort, leaving the rest of the unfortunate bunch of students who are stuck at home drunk with jealousy and envy.
In all seriousness, moving beyond all the negativity surrounding the “terrifying” term Zoom, it isn’t a forgone conclusion that Zoom will no longer play a role in a curriculum once the world regains pre-Covid normalcy. Despite all the grunts, complaints and breakdowns Zoom has inflicted on students on a global scale, some aspects of Zoom are very worthwhile to keep in any educational setting. Zoom has provided us with degrees of flexibility, comfortability of our homes and has saved us valuable time from commuting during rush hours. We are only sick of Zoom because it was presented as the only option as a result of the restrictions of the pandemic. As the world slowly gains back it’s long overdue freedom from Covid, a discussion on the incorporation of Zoom and technological tools alike in the classroom is becoming inevitable. The future of learning and education may in fact lie in online technologies.
Finally, and maybe most importantly, let’s all be honest with ourselves: we have all gotten used to waking up just minutes before logging into meetings with no trousers on!