In this blog I will address increasing productivity through camera use. Future blogs will address rights of privacy for parents/teachers who prefer not to have the room recorded, and cost of this system. The previous entry focused on the benefits of the camera on decreasing unwanted behaviors.
In review: Many child care facilities use surveillance cameras to monitor the classrooms and play areas. We need to move this tool into the elementary and secondary classrooms as well.
We need 2 cameras in every classroom.
Camera 1 pans the student desk area
Camera 2 follows the teacher and/or records the lesson
In the first Surveillance Cameras blog we eliminated or reduced many of the negative elements of the typical school day (discipline, bullying, teacher bias and other inappropriate teacher conduct), let’s move on the positive benefits of placing a camera in a classroom to record the lesson for each day.
Student did not understand, needs to hear/see it again:
Nothing is more frustrating as a kid than feeling like you know how to do something, really and truly know it, until you get home and suddenly you cannot remember what step comes next. Homework comes to a screeching halt. With the camera recording the classroom lesson and a transfer/downloading of the lesson to a podcast format, it is simply a matter of looking up the lesson on the Internet and playing it back. The student can pause, rewind, fast-forward, etc.
Maybe the student doesn’t understand doesn’t “get” the way her teacher explained the story or math problem or science lesson. So she searches for another teacher’s explanation, watches, listens, learns, and now understands it given a different view of the same material. It is even possible to make the podcasts searchable by keywords.
And it might not be necessary to create podcasts of each lesson for each teacher. If the teacher has the same class/level all day, it might only be necessary to make one class session for that teacher available for each day.
Wait! Who’s going to create this podcast?
I suggest making an elective technology class especially designed for just this sort-of thing; let the students do it (I promise to address my re-organization of the school curriculum as a future blog).
Wait! Homeschooled kids might watch this and they aren’t even having to go to school! They’re just sitting at home, freeloading on this teacher’s hard work!
So what? If a child gets an education, that’s one more educated adult. Why do you care that it didn’t cost you, the tax payer, any money to bus the child to school? It didn’t require your tax dollars to pay the teacher to instruct this child nor grade his papers. It didn’t cost your tax dollars to feed him breakfast or lunch, provide him with physical instructional materials, nor did you have to pay to put that child on a bus and transport him back home. Your own child did not surrender part of his academic time with his teacher while the teacher redirected the home school student’s behavior or re-explained the assignment. You’re upset that the home-schooler watched a teacher teach? Are you serious?
Still not happy about it? Then password protect your school’s teachers’ podcasts and be selfish that way.
Student is absent:
The student may watch and re-watch the lesson in order to get caught up on missed work. The majority of teacher-direct instruction is given in 10-20 minutes “chunks” with time for the teacher to evaluation student comprehension in-between. This makes it relatively simple for the absent student to view only the lesson itself and thus stay caught up with classmates.
Student is assigned In-School-Suspension (ISS):
Rather than sit unproductively in a detention cubicle doing what usually amounts to busy-work or make up work, the student can access the class material via a live-feed, only accessible through an intra-net connection while logged in to an on-site school computer. This means the student is isolated from peers as deemed necessary for a discipline concern but that the student is NOT falling further behind by missing the instruction of the classroom.
We are now using these cameras in a positive manner. There is a benefit to be gained beyond merely reducing negative behaviors. These cameras are being used as teaching tools rather than simply punitive tools.
Update 4/24/2011: I read an article this morning on “Reverse Instruction” that exactly explains further benefits of using cameras to record teacher instruction, and I wanted to add that link for using technology in instruction. This takes the whole adage of, “Read chapter 2 and outline the main points for discussion in class tomorrow” into the modern era.