A Video Camera in Every Classroom
By Sarah Brown Wessling, 2010 Teacher of the Year.

It’s just the kind of thinking, where video is about surveillance, that we get confused notions of why having classroom cameras can make a difference for teachers. First, let’s get clear on why these aren’t “surveillance” cameras in either the literal or figurative sense.

When Bill Gates talks, people listen. When Bill Gates talks education, people get serious about listening. Last week, TED launched a new series of talks focused on education. We heard from teachers, from researchers, from prominent thinkers and then we heard Bill Gates offer a slightly different proposition for helping teachers to get better: rather than only focusing on evaluation, look at growth models where video is in the center of self-reflection.

Mr. Gates suggested in his latest talk is undisputed: teachers can’t get better as long as they are in isolation. Then he suggested that the fastest way out of isolation is with the lens of a camera perched in every classroom.

Elevating the Practice

Sometimes people hear the phrase “video cameras in classrooms” and automatically start thinking about other places we have perched cameras, like parking garages or daycare centers. It’s just this kind of thinking, where the video is about surveillance, that we get confused notions of why having classroom cameras can make a difference for teachers. First, let’s get clear on why these aren’t “surveillance” cameras in either the literal or figurative sense.

• They aren’t there to “catch” teachers making missteps
• They aren’t there to judge
• They aren’t there to feed into an evaluation system

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