With COVID-19 cases spreading like a California wildfire, more schools are starting to go back to full remote learning. There are also some schools that are still hybrid learning, but those students who tested positive for COVID-19 or were in close contact with those who tested positive are to stay home for two weeks. Because of COVID-19 and the different learning models, teachers and students depend on technology more than ever.
Some of the technology that students and teachers are using to stay connected are Google Classroom, Pear Deck, Ed puzzle, Email. Now that we have video conferencing apps such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Google Meet, and even Microsoft Teams, synchronized learning is possible for students even when they aren’t physically in school. At Morgan, we depend on Google Meet.
Now, what if I told you that just because a student is on-screen when the cameras are on, it doesn’t mean that they are actually paying attention to what their teachers have to say. You see when students have their cameras off on Google Meets, it means two things. 1. the student could be doing something and still be listening to the teacher, Or 2. they could be on another tab watching YouTube, playing a game, or looking at clothes. Sometimes students don’t display their faces. They display their icons. Some students do this because they feel self-conscious about their background at home or because they aren’t dressed properly. Others may be in the room without a Chromebook and doing something else
World Language teacher Laura Luther said, “I like to see my students’ faces on camera. It makes me feel better connected to them if I can see their faces. Making eye contact and seeing their facial expressions are important to me.” Junior Jonathan Blair said, “I have Mrs. Luther as a teacher and if my camera is not on then I don’t get credit.”
Senior Clara Franzoni said that she tries to keep her camera on because it actually helps teachers to see their students. Clara said, “I try to stay on track as good as I can. I only turn my camera off as a courtesy because of seasonal allergies.”
Senior Abby Eydman said, “it all depends on the time of day. My calculus class is very quiet, and it feels very awkward to have the camera on when no one is talking.” Senior Genna Rauccio said, “I have the same opinion as Abby, but if you wanted to contribute to the class, then your camera would be on.” Some students find paying attention on Google Meet much more difficult than when in a classroom. Senior Ryan Inglis said, “It all depends on the class. I find it much easier to daydream when I am on Google Meet.”
Our teachers also have Go Guardian to help view students’ work activity on their ChromeBooks, but some students have other devices that they use to stay in touch with their teachers and classmates. So that means Go Guardian is blocked from a teacher’s perspective, and they can’t tell what activity is going on with a student with their camera off.
There is no foolproof way for teachers to know what students are up to behind the cameras. But teachers want their students to be successful, engaged, and completing the assignments given to them. Students, it’s all up to you.