8-year-old boy keeps video diary highlighting ups and downs of distance learning

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Thursday, October 15, 2020
8-year-old boy keeps video diary of distance learning
An 8-year-old has been keeping a video diary of how distance learning during the coronavirus pandemic is going. From internet problems, to missing making friends at recess, here's what he had to say.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Kids are already back in classrooms in some school districts. Others are pushing hard to go back to class, but many in the San Francisco Bay Area are taking the cautious approach, and have opted to continue distance learning for the foreseeable future.

8-year-old Nolan Wu has kept a video diary of school life in 2020, recording the ups and the downs of distance learning since school started on Zoom earlier this year.

RELATED: Bay Area parents, teachers, students weigh in on distance learning challenges since start of school

We've sorted through 19 of his videos and here is what has worked for him and what has been a challenge.

"It's not school I would say, it's kind of like a boring TV show is what school is exactly!" says third-grader Nolan Wu who attends Tara Hills Elementary in San Pablo, California.

You might remember Nolan because his opinions on face masks and going back to school were broadcast, not only in California, but around the globe on World News Tonight with David Muir.

"I think it's just going to be a little too crazy for kids. And you know you're going to need a face shield and a mask and I'm sick of it and many other kids are too, they might take it off," said Nolan back in early August before school started.

VIDEO: 2 Bay Area teachers on leave after viral video: 'Kids are technologically illiterate'

Two Vallejo teachers were placed on administrative leave after a viral video surfaced showing them bad mouthing their students after class on Zoom. The school district confirmed two teachers recorded in the video work at Jesse Bethel High School.

At the time there was talk about the possibility of going to school in-person. That hasn't yet happened and Nolan has continued to learn at home.

Fast forward to today. Almost two months since the start of classes and deep into the school year, still in the midst of distance learning, and little ole Nolan is busy at work - Recording video diaries with the help of his mom, who is a teacher herself.

"Distance learning was interesting," says Nolan referring to his first day of class. "And there's a second problem so there was actually a glitch, there was no connection and I missed a whole bunch."

From the start there have been questions. "What I'm mostly worried about is if they can even hear me," said Nolan.

There have been challenges for not only Nolan but his teaching mom, artistic father, and sister. All of them are at home during the day.

RELATED: 'I am exhausted': Vallejo students say 8 hour distance learning day is too much

"Mom's talking to guys like 'yeah' and laughing and stuff and then we come and play and she's like 'shhhhhhh' right there. She's like 'shhhhhh!'"

Funny yes, but Nolan says it's hard and this coming from someone who was just named Student of the Week but also someone, who like many other kids out there, is feeling the pressure as the pandemic lags on. In one of his videos the pressure became too great and the tears started to fall.

"Frustrated very frustrated! Distance learning I don't like it!" Says Nolan. "I can't make any new friends because when you do recess I usually get to know people and I don't get to know people and that's very frustrating!"

The 8-year-old went from talking toys before the year started, to praising internet hotspots - Saying that when the internet works, it makes school easier.

RELATED: Sunnyvale private school becomes first in Bay Area to hold in-person classes

Recently, when smoke overtook Nolan's neighborhood, his family opted to travel out of state to Utah where the air was clear.

"That's the best thing about distance learning you can do it anywhere," says Nolan.

But ask this youngster if he wants to keep doing distance learning and you'll get a quick response, one that calls out anyone for not being socially responsible and one that praises an elementary school that he hopes to soon attend, again.

"You see Tara Hills it's up on that hill and man it's the best place I could ever think of a school! This is my idea that you should wear a mask and you should make them wear them and you should teach them what six feet away is! That's my recommendation," says Nolan who is looking forward to eventually going back to school.

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