Keeping children safe in schools is top of mind in today’s world. Reports from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) show 81 percent of schools use surveillance cameras for safety and security reasons, understandably so.
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.
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 not saying a word. That was the equivalent of the teacher being 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 1 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, its other 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 of 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 evaluators present.
Keeping Students in School Remotely
Life circumstances can sometimes affect a student’s ability to get to school. Classroom video conferencing for students who cannot be physically present enables them to keep up with schoolwork and what’s happening in the classroom. Students on an extended absence due to illness or injury can watch live-streamed or recorded lectures. If weather conditions prevent some students from getting to school, video offers the ability for class to still go on from home. All that’s required to be virtually present is access to a computer, microphone and standard webcam.
Exploring the Outside World From Inside the Classroom
Technology today allows us to see and talk to people from all around the world. Video capability in the classroom makes amazing learning opportunities possible by bringing the world to the students and allowing them to explore distant horizons.
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 or gallery can provide a rich learning experience for students when field trips are not feasible.
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. Seeing schools and narrowing down a targeted list is much more manageable if students and parents have the option to virtually tour universities via video. Before committing time and money to visit in person, students can explore colleges by seeing:
- Recorded or live lectures that give a taste of the material presented in college classes.
- Video and live streaming from the campus to get a sense of campus life, dormitory options, recreational opportunities, and more.
Learning With Endless Possibilities
Cameras in schools and classrooms offer benefits well beyond safety and security. Give students and teachers the opportunity to learn from others, remain connected, and see outside their classroom and inside others. Video opens the door to robust learning experiences in step with today’s sophisticated world, without ever leaving the classroom.