In Class Camera Rules Are Unnecessary
Students and teachers at Gahr have been following the new Virtual Academy protocols since August. Unlike last school year, students are now required to follow a set schedule to attend class meetings using Google Meets or Zoom. A rule that has been established in the Virtual Academy is that students must keep their cameras on during class. This raises a question: should students be required to keep their cameras on at all times?
Photo Credit: The Stanford Daily
Berlin Renteria, an 11th-grade student at Gahr, says, “I think [web cameras] shouldn’t be enforced because it could cause unnecessary stress about having others see your personal surroundings.” The at-home learning system has made school very personal due to the fact that everyone is doing schoolwork and attending class meetings in their own homes. While the option to blur one’s background is available, some people could still be self-conscious about themselves and their actions, especially since everyone can see their classmates on screen. In addition, some students could have siblings who they would need to watch over and could be seen in the class call. Overall, students could simply just not feel comfortable meshing their personal lives with school.
Supporting the other side of the argument, an anonymous student says, “I feel like if [the teachers] were not strict about cameras, then no one would turn them on and the teachers would not be able to make the at-home learning environment feel more like regular school.” The use of cameras during meets is a resourceful tool because it can make people feel less lonely, especially teachers when they are giving lectures, and it can create more opportunities for students to interact. In addition, if a class is utilizing breakout rooms, then cameras being on would give students the opportunity to participate and connect with classmates while staying safe. However, the environment of the classroom does not change individual student’s participation levels. If a student didn’t usually participate during in-person classes, they still wouldn’t want to participate in online classes.
Six months into the 2020-2021 Virtual Academy, both students and teachers have made major adjustments in order to successfully adapt. Teachers try their best to make this experience resemble school as it was in the past, while students try their best to adjust to these developments.
Gahr Students communing for Class Cabinet.
The use of technology has played a major role in this adaptation. Enforcing cameras to be on during virtual classes has the benefit of creating a similar environment to in-person school through participation and collaboration. However, kids who did not take part regularly during in-person school would not want to participate during online school. In addition, the cameras being on during class could make some students uncomfortable in their own homes. Students should not be required to have their cameras on at all times because students and teachers are all experiencing these changes together, and the thing that would help everyone right now is understanding each other’s equal challenges.