Photo by Flickr
Cameras play an integral role in our everyday lives. From security cameras to movie cameras, to the digital cameras in every smartphone, cameras are responsible for a lot. But with online schools becoming the norm throughout the US, cameras have new importance: in schooling. This has led to a major question: does turning on your camera during classes have an effect on the learning environment?
In a survey of 106 WCHS students, only 16% said they turned their cameras on regularly, and 40% said that it depended on the class. When asked why they don’t turn on their cameras, a resounding 50% of students said they didn’t turn on their camera because “they don’t feel like it.”
Part of the reason behind this staggering number is the massive increase in anxiety and depression amongst young adults and teens. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “during the pandemic, a larger than average share of young adults (ages 18-24) report symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder (56%).”
When asked, 30% percent of students said that the main reason they didn’t turn their cameras on was due to the lack of turned-on cameras from peers. 33% of students said they don’t turn their camera on because of self-consciousness of surroundings. This statistic may be connected to the rise of anxiety as stated earlier.
Going back to the overarching question, do cameras have an effect on classes and their learning environment. First off we need to know if cameras have an effect overall on the learning environment and according to the survey of 106 WCHS students: it does. 63% said it had an overall effect on their class learning environments. Out of that remaining 62% that said an overwhelming 85% said that it had a positive effect on the learning environment. The cause for this effect could be seen in multiple ways.
One positive effect of having cameras on is keeping students accountable. Students are more on task with cameras on, as teachers are able to see and remind students to stay on task. This increases academic honesty, as teachers are able to see what students are doing during testing.
Overall while having cameras on during class time would most definitely have a positive effect on the learning environment, it is unlikely that the number of students turning their cameras on will change anytime soon. This can partially be attributed to the upcoming reintegration of in-person learning in the coming weeks and months.