Learner Spotlight Article: How Middle Schoolers Are Doing During the Pandemic

iLEAD Agua Dulce Middle Schoolers

By Blake Mascon, iLEAD Agua Dulce 7th Grader

If you didn’t know, we are in the middle of a global pandemic!

There is a virus going around called the coronavirus that is affecting nearly every aspect of our lives. A stay-at-home order was issued in March, causing all schools to switch to distance learning. Distance learning means we have to do all of our schoolwork at home on a computer and we don’t get to see our friends or facilitators.

We decided to do a study to find out how people are doing during this pandemic.

To gather data, we sent out a survey to middle schools throughout iLEAD Schools.

We sent out a 32-question survey and received 108 responses. Each learner in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades picked a topic and made a mini survey on their topic. My facilitators picked some questions from each and made a survey with all our questions. Each learner in my class was asked to write an article on the topic they chose. I decided to focus on how middle schoolers are communicating with their friends during the pandemic.

The first question I chose to focuses on is “Do you enjoy distance learning?” Of respondents, 59.3% said they kind of like distance learning, 30.6% said they do not like distance learning and 10.2% said they like distance learning. Based on the data we collected, most people are not excited about or do not like distance learning.

I was surprised to see that the majority of participants selected that they kind of like distance learning.

The second question I chose to focuses on is “Do you get to see your friends in person at all?” Of respondents, 41.7% said they don’t and 58.3% said they do. Based on the data we collected, more than 50% still get to see their friends in person. I was surprised to see that 41.7% don’t get to see their friends in person. I expected more people to be able to.

The third question I chose to focus on is “How have you been communicating with your friends since the pandemic?” Of respondents, 25% said they’ve been communicating with friends through Discord, 18.5% said in person, 5.1% said Google Hangouts, 2.5% said Zoom, and 49.1% said other. Based on the data we collected, more people are communicating through other platforms, such as FaceTime, texting, email, game chat, etc. I was surprised to see that not many people use Discord. I expected more people to use Discord because you can face chat, text, call, and play video games on Discord. I think the reason not many people use Discord is that some people might not know it exists.

The fourth question I chose to focus on is “Do you play more video games because you can contact your friends through them?” Of respondents, 64.8% said yes and 35.2% said no. Based on the data we collected, more than nearly two-thirds said they do. I was not surprised to see that nearly two-thirds of people play more video games because it is a great way to communicate when everything is closed down. Also, most middle schoolers are not 13, and the legal consent age to have social media is 13. So the next best way is online chat on video games. At least three times a week, I play Fortnite with my friends and we chat while we play.

According to qz.com, “The popular basketball game NBA 2K20 saw an 82% increase in active players during the pandemic.” And “Call of Duty: Warzone, a first-person shooter ‘battle royale,’ have grown rapidly during the pandemic. The game had 75 million active players in August, up from 30 million in late March, according to its publisher, Activision.”

Our survey had limitations. One of the limitations on the first question of “Do you like distance learning?” was that it wasn’t broken down to specific grade levels’ responses. If we had the percentage of each grade on who answered yes, no and kind of , we would have had a more complete and detailed data set. The other limitation I found was on the third question. Most people chose other, so I had to guess what other was. It would have been better if there were more choices. Also, all the comparative survey results I found were not current and only covered the 2019-2020 school year.

I enjoyed writing this article. I liked looking at the results and interpreting them. I also liked finding other surveys on the topics. My favorite one is “Do you play more video games to communicate with your friends?” The results showed that people are doing well and finding ways to talk to their friends.


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