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January 02, 2007


Ryan Barr

Personally the idea is cool, but taking live video feeds into classrooms? Well for elementary schools and such, sure go ahead and do it. Although it might then cause issues with parents who would then want the high schools to drop a million or two into live video feeds for each classroom and hallways so they can see what goes on.

Sorry, but personally walking through my Columbine-rivalry (yes, Chatfield is where I go) already with the security cameras every step is kind of bothersome already. And having cameras in the classrooms might hold back our fun and creative teachers. They might be scared to hop on the desks and do fun interactive things because they might feel judged by the viewers.

So, I am not so sure. Heh. Although having blogs and classroom wiki's is growing on my school at the moment (not the best system, although I am working with the board on improving that). So it is somewhat expanding in this Web2.0 world.

John Pederson

Been there, worried about that.

I started recording podcasts of my pre-school daughter talking about school and her principal, then emailed them to the teachers. Neither of her teachers replied. The principal replied with some very PRish "thank you for taking an interest in your child's education Mr. Pederson".

I recently met the technology guys from my daughter's schools at a session I was doing about podcasting. They got a kick out of it and use her examples in working with their teachers.



John – Sad, but dynamite example in the comment from you tonight. How utterly bizarre to get a ‘response’ (or lack thereof) from an administrator such as the one you did. Granted, perhaps they were being polite and didn’t know how to tell you how wildly excited they were, and flattered, because their Myers Briggs score shows them as an introvert, but most likely it means they don’t ‘get it’. I plan on being a bulldozer with a smirk on my face when I hit that moment. And I’ll get your back if you face similar obstacles in the future as well. Give that daughter of yours my best!


Ryan,as one of 'those teachers' who used to stand on the desk, toss tennis balls at kids unexpectedly to see if they were paying attention, and otherwise used every dancing-monkey technique in the book, I hear you on the potential down-sides of allowing parents and the world peek into every classroom. But I am also very convinced that the future of learning is not about protecting unique experiences in a few rare classrooms, but in making every square inch of school 'relevant' to learning and available for across-the-community collaboration. The days of silo'd education offer little to us in the future. I have, however, a great deal of respect for your student's view of the question/premise. But I think you'll see that the cost of video and such will continue to drop, making that not such the issue. It really comes down to 'control' and 'trust' and the 'perception of safety.' But you get high marks for analyzing the situation so well! And good luck bringing some common sense into the web 2.0 technology swing at your school. Thanks!


Cheers, Christian

Karl Fisch

On a different note, I'm curious as to the "security" on your daycare feed. I've thrown the "webcam in every classroom" scenario out to my staff to get them thinking (not to mention in 2020 Vision), but I don't know enough about the technology to know how you "control" who gets to view it. While in theory I think that shouldn't be a problem (it's "public" education after all), in practice it probably is. And aren't there a whole lot of legal issues involved - given the hoops we have to go through even just to release student names to the media? I wonder how daycares get around that? Just thinking out loud . . .


The key is not ‘daycare’ vs. ‘high school’. It’s ‘private’ vs. ‘public.’ I’m assuming the private daycare is able to establish different rules than a public institution like most of our high schools.

They outsourced the video feeding services to a company that only serves daycares, but they market it as part of the daycare package – it actually had a small impact on our choice to put Beckett there.

We must pay part of our monthly bill – tiny fraction – to the video hosting/serving company. We were given a password and only have access to the specific room he’s in – and just 2 set views – and we can share it with our family if we elect to do so.

But more than the ‘trust’ of security, it is the ‘trust’ of whether we believe the public, or even just the family, belongs in the room.

As a private school teacher for many years, it was the norm for parents to have ‘access’ to my telephone # at home, to have access to my classroom. The tuition was the social code. And frankly, I became a better teacher because I was painfully/happily aware of the larger market forces that would be aware of my actions.

As for cameras in the classroom? I can imagine the real-time component will be like a unicorn; talked about but never seen. But time-delayed and even edited feeds? Now, I’d be hard-pressed to be convinced as prices go down and expectations go up that we won’t see this happening in our short near-future.

And I’m convinced – although forgive if I exaggerate to make a point – that some parent/lawyer is going to sue a school for not making their child’s every class available 24/7 in times of sickness. With technology, there is no excuse. And sooner or later it’s going to be an ‘accessibility’ issue for public institutions, and frankly part of the branding distinction for private institutions. If you don’t give my sick child access to real-time teaching/learning in their actual classes – no matter where they are – then it’s an access/rights issue. I’m convinced that the day will come when such a ‘case’ would be made.

Oh, and then there is just the ‘common sense’ and ‘logic’ side of things as well. But they often get sidelined by fear and tradition and the other issues at hand.

Thanks for pushing my synapses to fire faster, Karl!

Cheers, Christian

Karl Fisch

Understood, but the issue I was trying to get at was the privacy issue. What if parents don't want other parents to be able to see their kid? (not to mention "sharing" it with extended others). I think there will be a significant percentage of parents that balk at this (and that's not even taking into consideration custody issues . . .)


Karl -- Yes, the challenge of which parent gets to see which kid is of course part of the bigger question. And yet anyone sitting outside the school door at 3pm can see every kid walk out, or anyone that comes in can as well. Lots of balking moments, but at the end of the day, I think we can rise to the aggregation of the positives. But I do appreciate your ideas/questions, Karl!


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