Montgomery County parents, kids say they’re spending more time on troubleshooting than virtual learning 

Three weeks after the virtual start to schools, some parents in Montgomery County said Tuesday, there is more tech troubleshooting occurring than actual learning.

They claim their kids are spending the majority of their time trying to figure out the different platforms.

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The Fletcher family of Germantown said that it’s been more than a steep gradient for their 9-year-old son, Zion Fletcher.

“I can’t do it anymore,” he said, after struggling with the platforms he supposed to use for learning.

The fourth-grade student is seen crying in a cellphone video while describing to his mother that he can’t spend any more time on how to access all the different platforms he needs for virtual learning. That includes Canvas, Zoom, Google Drive, and Synergy.

His mother, Cara Fletcher, and several other parents within Montgomery County Public Schools, have been sounding off about those frustrations.

“We are submitting assignments but then they are going on the other end blank yet they are completed on our end and these are just minor examples,” Cara Fletcher said.

She noted that her son has difficulty understanding people on Zoom as well.

“Everybody sounds like a robot, the kids can’t understand what anybody is saying,” she said.

FOX 5 also spoke with Natalya Dvorson of Rockville, who has one child in the fourth grade and another in the sixth grade. 

She sent us a video of using Canvas and the many steps she and her kids have to navigate through before they can get access.

“I think Canvas or the system that they are using has a lot of functionality and a lot of options, but I think they just need to do something stupid and simple,” Dvorson said.

Both moms said that kids these days are no doubt tech savvy but the online learning platforms are not designed for that age group. 

“They can text, they can use YouTube all the things that we’re trying to stop but it’s the amount of steps, nothing is simple,” Fletcher said.

“I mean can you imagine all the steps kids have to take just to simply get into the classroom?” said Dvorson. 

“It’s not like you and me, where you just send me a link and I click and we are in.”

FOX 5 inquired about these concerns with Montgomery County Public Schools system.

Spokesperson, Gboyinde Onijala said that she is not aware of that being a systemwide issue for parents.

Onijala said that MCPS has distributed more than 133,000 Chromebooks, thousands of mobile hotspots, in addition to rolling out a robust, integrated learning management system and videoconferencing platform and trained thousands of staff students and families on how to use them. 

She went on to say that all technology platforms face glitches, but that MCPS works quickly to address them. 

“It's certainly possible that some parents are experiencing the issue you described below and we are more than happy to assist them in working through those challenges. They can contact our tech support line at 240-740-7022 Monday through Friday.”