Keeping children safe in schools is top of mind in today’s world, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reports from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) show 81 percent of schools use surveillance cameras for safety and security reasons, understandably so.
But beyond security, cameras can also be valuable tools for enhancing and expanding educational opportunities for teachers and students, giving administrators good cause to look at incorporating high-definition cameras into their budgets. The benefits of doing so reach far beyond security.
Safe and Effective Learning in Today's Environment
Life and health circumstances can affect a student's safety in the classroom, as we have seen with the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools across the nation range from 100% remote distance learning, implementing a hybrid model, or opening in-person to all students.
Remote distance learning for students who cannot be physically present due to COVID-19 enables them to continue to learn virtually. Students on an extended absence due to illness or injury can watch live-streamed or recorded lectures at their convenience to keep up with schoolwork. All that’s required to be virtually present is access to a computer, internet, microphone, and standard webcam.
For classes meeting in person, thermographic cameras can be used to help screen a person for symptoms before receiving access to a school or facility. These thermographic solutions show temperature fluctuations in relation to a sample population, and sometimes provide an estimate of skin temperate. Cameras can also be utilized for contact tracing and managing proximity between individuals.
Offering Remote College Tours
For high school students, college is a big decision. Visiting various college campuses is an important part of the process, but it’s time-consuming and can be expensive due to travel. According to Inside Higher Ed, while some in-person tours are still happening, there is a cost and safety risk given the current pandemic. The benefits of exploring schools virtually include:
- Recorded or live lectures give a taste of the material presented in college classes.
- Video and live streaming from the campus allow prospective students to get a sense of campus life, dormitory options, recreational opportunities, and more.
- Visiting the campus virtually offers an alternative to those not comfortable visiting in person due to COVID-19.
Enhancing Teacher Performance and Training
Most of us probably remember those days in school when the principal or a school administrator would sit at the back of the classroom without saying a word. That was the equivalent of if the teacher was given an exam. Today, classroom cameras offer the opportunity to record teachers doing their jobs for others to review and evaluate their performance. This offers much more flexibility for the evaluators and less pressure on the teacher.
This may be a trend that gains more traction in the future. An NCES survey showed only one percent of teachers reported that video of their teaching performance is used in their formal evaluations.
While video can be used as part of performance reviews, another valuable function can be to give teachers – especially those new to the classroom – feedback that can help them grow and excel in their job. The benefits of classroom video for teachers include:
- Newer teachers can record their lectures for peer reviews of their teaching methods and style to help them learn and improve.
- Novice teachers can watch videos of experienced teachers to pick up new ideas to apply in their classrooms.
- Teachers at any level may feel more relaxed and natural with a discreet camera in the classroom instead of having evalutors present.
- Students who prefer virtual learning to in-person given health concerns can have the ability to login and watch the teacher live while also instructing students in person.
- Schools can accommodate hybrid learning options that include in-person and remote styles, alternatively.
Exploring the Outside World From Inside the Classroom
Technology today allows us to see and talk to people from all around the world. Exploring locations across the globe virtually is a great alternative given the transmission and exposure risks of traveling. Video capability in the classroom makes amazing learning opportunities possible by bringing the world to the students and allowing them to explore distant horizons safely.
Teachers and students can see, interact and learn outside the classroom in a variety of ways:
- A “sister” classroom in another city, state or even another country can participate in classroom activities such as debates, lectures, presentations, and group projects.
- Teachers can share ideas with educators in other classrooms or schools.
- Teachers, students, and subject-matter experts may come together on live-streamed video for educational discussions.
- A virtual visit to a museum, aquarium, or gallery can provide a rich learning experience for students when field trips are not feasible.
Learning With Endless Possibilities
Cameras in schools and classrooms offer benefits well beyond safety and security by allowing students and teachers the opportunity to learn and teach virtually, remain connected, and see outside their classroom and inside others. Video technology has opened the door to keep students learning and teachers teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.