We asked our student bloggers to share their experience while distance learning at home. Today, Benjamin W. shares how he is still able to connect during our time apart.

At first, I was completely focused on online learning. Questions about how school could function while everybody in it was far apart swarmed in my head. Fortunately, I managed to get the gist of how it was working rather quickly. After a couple of weeks, I realized the major piece that I had forgotten—being social. Digital school had been set up for me, but the task of finding ways to communicate outside of that environment was an uncharted path.

It’s incredible how fast Zoom has become a popular platform. I have used it for both school and seeing family. In April, my family held a couple of Passover Seders through Zoom. While we obviously couldn’t talk with family members in person, it was nice to be able to see them without having to travel. Plus, fewer people meant I had to do less work in the kitchen. It’s a relief that cultural traditions can still be maintained during social distancing.

My family also held a surprise Zoom call for my grandfather’s birthday. During that call, my grandfather discussed how staying inside has finally forced his “technologically illiterate self” to learn new things. He was celebrating his success of getting a Zoom call to show up on his TV. Likewise, I had a similar situation when I finally got around to completing a technical task that I had been overestimating for a month. My friend had been encouraging me to download an extension for Mario Kart, a Wii video game, that allowed me to be able to play online. Being forced to stay inside the house was my motivation for finally getting the task done because I was bored at home. Completing the task not only satisfied my friend, but also gave me useful technical knowledge that will be helpful in the future. Most importantly of all, it gave me the ability to play the video game online and connect with both my friends and people around the world who are stuck at home as well.

Another activity that I have been doing a lot online is trivia games. I enjoy using the trivia website Sporcle (which I would highly recommend to trivia enthusiasts), which allows users to take all sorts of trivia quizzes on a variety of subjects. My friends and I have gotten together online to play Kahoots on various subjects. I know that BASIS Independent McLean is also planning grade-level online trivia events soon, which I can’t wait to attend!

Not being able to see my friends and family is no fun, but I’m glad I’ve been able to find way to connect with each of them through technology.