Students share tech horror stories

“As I am writing this right now, I am in fact experiencing problems with my wifi.”

On top of all the mental stresses of the pandemic, tech and connection issues continue to plague us all, some more frequently than others.  Recently, it was reported that Everett suffers the second slowest internet speeds of any city in the greater Boston area.  At the same time, remote learning continues to be the best substitute for in-person learning as urban districts like Everett try to provide equitable opportunities to students in other communities that may be attending school.  There is no easy solution, but at least we can bear witness to some of the more frustrating moments over the past few months.  Following are short testimonials from 15 students detailing some of those moments.

Jeez, I have a few that I could talk about. This remote learning has really found a way to kill students in terms of time and of tech ability. I feel as though after this year, anyone could attend MIT because I’m a pro now at this computer thing. There have been so many days where first, My alarm wouldn’t go off and I’d miss a class but that’s the least of my tech worries. There have been days where the internet in my house wasn’t paid, so I couldn’t join a class until I paid the stupid Comcast bill that gave me my wifi back. To make it worse, my little cousin does school at my house and he obviously needs to be in class, I guess, “more” than me. So I’d have to email my teacher after class and let them know what happened, this is usually morning though when I wake up and notice that the bill wasn’t paid. I have missed work deadlines because on Canvas, it doesn’t appear the same way as it does on Google Classroom. I have been struggling to sort out junk mail through my school email. I do this because when I need to find something in specific like a zoom link or even instructions on a class procedure, I can’t find it because there’s either so many emails or because there’s too much junk. At the beginning, when I was using the school Chromebook, I couldn’t have my camera on and my audio on at the same time because it would cut out and it would sound like I was underwater or something. So I’d have to turn off my camera and my audio, then my turn would’ve already been through because the teacher has been trying to tell me that they can’t hear me while I’m yapping on about what I think about, global warming or something. But one thing I can assure you of is that this year, you can call our generation the experts of laptops and the internet. –Melany Fagundes

This whole year has been the worst in terms of everything, not just technology. But eLearning in particular has just become unbearable at this point. Not only does Everett have the slowest internet, but I also live with many other people who are all on the same wifi. I have 3 other siblings who are on Zoom at the same time, so you can imagine how slow my wifi is. I think Zoom in particular is a very heavy application, so it’s really like 10 people are on the wifi.I have had many instances where it was my turn to answer in class, and my mic stopped working, or the whole class period it works fine, but when it is time to do a group project and actually speak, my connection gets lost. I think it is bad enough that we have to learn online, let alone with interruptions. I have never gone as far as missing a class due to internet issues, but by the way it’s looking, I don’t doubt that it won’t happen.Just a few days ago, my teacher was doing a verbal assessment of where everyone was at, and I was more than ready. However, my internet wasn’t. When it was finally my turn to answer the questions, I was going on and on, but no one could actually hear me on the other side as my mic had cut off. When I finally finished speaking, my teacher said she couldn’t hear any of what I had said, and I tried to explain that it was my internet, and that I didn’t walk away from my screen or something, but I didn’t sound very persuasive, so I don’t think she believed me. It is just really frustrating because I was ready with answers, but of course my internet wasn’t. –Mihret Amare

Recently I have experienced much greater difficulties with technology versus the start of the academic year. In my psychology class, for instance, most of the links for an assignment were not working because they were either not loading or the links no longer existed. As a result, I did not have access to the same resources as my peers which made the assignment more difficult to complete. In another one of my classes, I made a mistake in making a copy of a file of my work. When the assignment was posted on Google Classroom, I accidentally made two copies of the same assignment because I could not edit the original document. I completed the assignment on one of the copies. However, when I went to submit the assignment, I accidentally submitted the extra copy. In other words, I submitted the copy with no work which resulted in me receiving zero credit. As of right now, I am trying to correct this issue with my teacher. I have not missed an assignment so far this year in the class, so I am hoping that I will be able to receive credit for the assignment because I have the original assignment completed. As I am writing this right now, I am in fact experiencing problems with my wifi. It seems that, after every two sentences I write, my internet disconnects and I have to wait for it to reconnect. This has been a challenge in itself because it interrupts a smooth flow of writing, which often leads me to forget what I was going to write in the first place. –Keara Farrell

So far with remote learning, I haven’t had too many technical difficulties. There are days here and there where the wifi is down or something takes super long to load, but nothing too crazy has happened. The only times where something has happened was when the wifi is down for a few seconds and I miss something important that my teacher said and then I’m lost for the rest of my class. Something that is frustrating with remote learning is that the directions are always super clear. Like I said, the wifi might go down for a few seconds and you miss something important, but also if the teacher doesn’t explain something clearly, you are kind of left like that and have to figure it out yourself or ask someone else for clarification. There are times where you do need help but it’s awkward asking for it during the zoom meeting because you know that everyone is going to hear you. It’s a lot more comforting asking for help one on one with a teacher in the classroom. I don’t really have a problem with asking in front of everyone, but I know that a lot of my friends do (which results in them making me ask).I’m sure I will have a time where there is a bigger issue with technology during remote learning since we do have a while to go before we get back in the classroom, but so far nothing too disruptive has happened to me. –Cindy Hernandez

On a Monday morning at 8 my wifi decides to crash and not work for the whole day. Thus later on leading to me getting mad because I also forgot to pay my phone bill so anytime I’d join through my phone with cellular data it wouldn’t load me into the call. I was getting mad and no one was home so of course I couldn’t use any of their devices. Time goes by and I’m trying to email my teachers but of course my phone won’t send anything, so there I am laying on my bed knowing my parents are going to get a call  that I wasn’t in class. But then even better news comes in, school is basically over and I miss all my classes. Ms Dinatale emails me for a zoom call to talk about why I missed all my classes. I get on the zoom call and I explain the whole situation, but she then goes “so how are you on this zoom call with me at this moment?”  Surely there is no way my mom paid for my phone bill as soon as Dinatale emailed me and I didn’t even notice so my argument on why I wasn’t in class is just down the drain. In shock I didn’t have a response to her question and sat in silence just looking at my screen with a straight face staying like that for the rest of day then my parents get home complaining how I wasn’t in class –Cristian Sola

There has been a lot of times where my laptop has either been acting up or my wifi and has caused me to miss classes and it has been a little bit inconvenient because I miss what we learned and assignments from class but also I don’t want teachers or my assistant principal to think it is from skipping but so far they have been good about understanding and excusing absences that were from technology issues. For example while I was in first period this morning and people were presenting so I was listening and not even touching my laptop and out of nowhere it shut off and I was confused since it was plugged in then I had to go through the whole process of rejoining and getting all the papers and assignments pulled back up on my computer fast enough and having to explain what had happened. There has also been a few times when I got zeros on assignments I have handed in from either sending it in the wrong place or the teacher not seeing it and it has been fixed every time but in the moment it makes me nervous because I wouldn’t want a zero on an assignment I tried handing in but when I communicate with my teachers it has never been a problem getting it fixed. –Adaija DeVivo

To be honest I’ve had multiple bad experiences with remote learning since the first day of school. One of my worst experiences was when I didn’t have wifi for a week and I had to do work on my phone and layout on the phone was way different than my laptop and not friendly to the user at all so I gave up which is on me. Even more frustrating than that I had so many errors coming up on my laptop when trying to get into zoom classes and zoom would just glitch most of the time but I’m guessing now that has resolved the issue since I’m not really experiencing the same amount of problems any more. –Emmanuel Aubourg

I fortunately haven’t had too many problems with technology. When the year first started I had a different POD teacher. I don’t know whether it was her computer or her wifi, but the connection was not good. It was only her because I could see and hear other students fine. Her video camera was very pixelated and unfocused. I couldn’t make out anything she was saying, it sounded as if she was in a wind tunnel. I felt kind of bad because it wasn’t her fault and if I was in her position I probably wouldn’t know how to solve it either. Another issue I had once, and hopefully not again, was not hearing the audio of a call. When I joined a class I couldn’t hear anything, it said I was connected to the audio, but  I still couldn’t hear the teacher or other students. There was no audio whatsoever – and I knew people were talking because their boxes were lighting up along with the teacher. I checked to make sure I didn’t have bluetooth connected or my earbuds plugged in, which I didn’t. I even cranked the volume up to 100. The end result was that I had to leave the meeting and rejoin and the problem was resolved. It was frustrating because it had nothing to do with my computer, but Zoom itself and something out of my control. –Anna White

My wifi and internet is usually pretty good but sometimes it goes a little haywire, and really does catch me off guard. One time I was about to start a class when I realized nothing was loading, it said I was connected to the wifi, and internet, but nothing was appearing on my screen. The blue loading line would stop half way if you know what I mean, and then the little dinosaur appeared on my screen telling me I didn’t have a connection. I was very frustrated because for pod my internet/wifi was fine but for my first period class it was not working. I didn’t know what to do so I called my dad as he was working because I know maybe he would know what to do. He ended up calling our wifi company, and they gave him instructions on how to handle the issue, which he then told me. Remind you all of this was happening in the middle of my B1 class, I was so frustrated. I logged into zoom on my phone but I had to download the app, and set it all up but I didn’t have it downloaded prior to this. To fix my wifi, I had to go to my wifi box, unplug it and wait for it to restart. Eventually it worked again, but right at the end of my B1 class. –Karla Hernandez

I have had a couple bad experiences with technology but one of the was when my computer was just being very slow and wouldn’t load anything. This happened specifically when I had a class going on. I didn’t want to be late but my zoom link wouldn’t load, it would just be turning in a circle. I think my computer might be acting like this because my friend one day dropped it on the ground. So I tried getting in the zoom and eventually it worked but I was a couple minutes late for class. Another bad experience I have had was when I needed to turn in a paper but I didn’t know how to make a copy of the assignment and place it in the turn in section. Sometimes figuring out where work is due and how to turn it in can be difficult. Teachers have been understanding sometimes but it can be stressful. I also have had some trouble with my wifi because a lot of family members are using it at the same time and it lags off sometimes. It can be annoying because we aren’t used to remote learning and out of nowhere we have to know exactly how to do everything. It has gotten better because we learn how to do the assignments but it could be better. –Jasmin Villa

There have been many incidents. One time I finished everything on the Newsela assignment and was pressing to submit it but did not pass it in, I tried refreshing the page or opening a new tab and it did the same thing. So I just gave up and hoped the teacher would see I did it or that it would pass in. Another time I was in my Symphonic Band class and lost my signal, so it kicked me out of the class and I could not continue looking up what I was searching for. –Jeffrey Delgado

One of my most frustrating days with remote learning so far is when your internet connection is unstable and you can’t do anything and the teacher thinks it’s because you don’t want to do it. Of course I want to do it but I can’t. One other thing I’m frustrated about is that everyone thinks it’s easy for you to deal with all those things together. It’s so depressing, it’s like they don’t understand that you’re trying your best and it’s not easy. Honestly all of those things get on my nerves. Especially when my internet connection is unstable and I have to submit homework before the end of the day and your internet it’s still acting up. I don’t think they understand the stress and that we are trying our best to get good grades and to be a good student. But at the same time I understand and believe that the teachers are doing their best too. I think it’s hard and a new experience for everyone. It’s a frustrating and depressing time for everyone that’s why I always try to do my best on everything. –Sarah Lyse Leconte

I’ve definitely have multiple horror stories from during school on zoom, some may be reasonable and others are just plain embarrassing. There have been many times where I would run to the bathroom during class and when I come back either there will be like 3 people in class because class ended. Or the teacher called my name but I wasn’t there to answer, or sometimes the teacher ended the zoom and I wasn’t even there to see. Those aren’t half of it though, once in one of my classes, we were put into breakout rooms to do classwork and we were able to pick and choose who we wanted to work with. Me and my friend worked together, so in the breakout rooms I turned on my camera. When it was time to go back to class I forgot to turn on my camera and I went into class with my camera on and let me tell you I was looking crazy. No one else had their camera on except for the teacher and people definitely noticed because my friend texted me about it. Another one of my classes last week, I wanted to change my profile picture on zoom because my teacher asked us to have a picture of ourselves. I was trying to put it in but instead I turned my camera on in the middle of class and I was looking even worse than the other time. I was laying down in my bed, in a weird angle and I had not done my hair yet. I have more of these stories than I could count. –Raquel Dasilva

Working online from home has been very challenging to adjust to. Remote learning is a whole new way of going to school that we all had to gradually learn how to do smoothly. What adds to the challenge is that we all have to depend on the internet at home to be able to join class on Zoom, do homework and classwork. One day when I was doing my math homework on the website Kami, the wifi at my house cut off. This caused my chrome book to crash and it deleted all the work I did. It was fairly late at night so I was just so extremely stressed out that it was all gone because I was almost done. I was so done and annoyed so I could not deal with it anymore. I emailed my teacher, and she felt so terribly bad that this happened to me. She understood my situation and extended when it was due for me. This gave me so much relief but I was still stressed out because I had to redo it while I had more homework due. Therefore my work was piling up. Luckily I was able to pull through. Another time when my wifi cut out was when I was in Spanish class. My wifi cut out and then the Zoom call froze and logged me out. However I was not as mad because I would rather have my wifi cut out on me during class than when I am working on an assignment. –Emily Huynh

Some of the worst days I have had with remote learning was one month ago when it was raining and the internet was going in and out every ten minutes and so for me to do my classwork activities or even my homework was a nightmare. I tried everything. Turning off and on the computer. Shutting down some internet pages that I have open, if it was because I am open too many of them. Trying to change the internet connection, trying to turn on and off the internet. Even move my location. I literally moved through all the house to try to find a better if any internet connection in order for me to do what I need to do. Then after school I had to go to work so I was not able to keep on trying to do my work in the evening. I had to wait until I came back from work in order to do it. And so after I came back from work the internet was fine, however I did not get to do all my work that night. I decided to go to bed and then woke up early in the morning to finish up before school started. It was a nightmare but thank God it is over now. However sometimes I still have some trouble with the wifi connection at home. –Erminia Palma