Using Technology in the Classroom

A Massachusetts school's use of technology that tapes classes and put them on the Internet may be an idea Hamden could consider.


To the Editor:

I was speaking to a business associate the other day and the subject of education came up during the course of our discussion. She was telling me that she had to review her daughter’s high school classroom work.

It turns out that her daughter attends a private school in Massachusetts. She was persuaded to send her daughter to that school in part because the school video tapes each and every class throughout the school day.

Think about this for a moment. The parents are given their child’s classroom schedule. Each night links are posted on the schools computer system. Parents are given access codes to log onto the school system’s computers and click on a class that they have interest in viewing.

While the concept may seem unnerving at first, a second look suggests that neither teacher nor student has anything to hide. They become so accustomed to the videotaping that no one seems to notice. The result is that teachers have fewer problems with discipline in the classroom.

Parents can see if their child is participating in class, as well as assess the quality of teaching going on in the classroom. Students benefit by being able to review the tapes for lessons they may have missed or need more time to absorb a particular lesson. It’s hard to argue with the benefits.

Security is tightly monitored and any misuse of a video feed is quickly traced back to the parent’s security clearance. Moreover, any video that can cause harm to a student is censured and viewed on a need to know basis, preventing a video from going viral on the internet. There have been no reported incidences of abuse and the school has an excellent reputation for turning out well prepared, well-educated students.

I thought to myself this may be something worth studying in Hamden. Perhaps we can install on a trial basis a similar system with parents, students and teachers volunteering to participate. We can then assess if there is a benefit to the program in Hamden. This idea may be worth considering.

Ron Gambardella

Thomas Alegi June 22, 2012 at 12:12 PM
This Hamden class room video on demand idea is great; it will insure that my stock in Robo-Teacher Corporation will go up, along with my Hamden taxes. What more could a person ask for!
Ron Gambardella June 22, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Hi Tom, I have several other ideas that I will be proposing over the next few months that will offset any cost to introducing technology into the classroom. I did not wish to overwhelm folks with by introducing tax saving measures in the same article introducing a new concept. However, this concept may also lead to savings with respect to tutoring or at home instruction. The technology solution often times produces cost saving benefits not initially considered with the original roll out. To nix the idea for the sole reason of cost would, I believe, be premature.
Thomas Alegi June 23, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Ron, “tutoring or at home instruction’ makes this video on demand concept more palatable, because it would be used for a limited number of students, which means lower liability costs. To use this video on demand as you stated, “Parents can see if their child is participating in class, as well as assess the quality of teaching going on in the classroom.” would only capture a few moment in time, which would not reflect on the overall student or teacher performance in the classroom. With that said I would like to remind everyone of a Yale study that was done a few years ago, which stated, technology is a good learning tool, but it cannot replace a motived teacher in a class room. More should be done to support motived teachers in classrooms, one on one instruction, which in turn would make parents and students motived to learn. Ron you stated, “Parents are given access codes to log onto the school system’s computers and click on a class that they have interest in viewing.” There are people who can crack computer codes in no time; a person on the other side of the world cracked the White House computer code a few years ago, remember! One more point can these video on demand videos be used in a court of law? YES! And if these videos are censored in any way to show a student or teacher not performing to a BOE standard, this censoring of the videos would open Pandora’s Box for legal action to be taken by the student or teacher against the BOE.


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