Should Schools Require Cameras on?

Dominic Blatt, Staff

As the 2020-2021 school year kicks off, students and teachers are struggling over whether cameras need to be kept on during class. Many students don’t want to turn on their cameras while teachers want them on as they teach better whenever they can see facial expressions and engage with the class.

“There is no real reason to have cameras on” said Nick Douglass, a senior. “I don’t turn my camera on except occasionally for small group work. Other than that, my camera usually stays off.”

The debate has been raging across the country as more and more schools start their years online. For some, it’s a privacy concern, with senior Joey Gonzalez saying “Some things are private, not everyone has a suitable workplace so there could be a lot going on in their home.” This could potentially distract other students too, causing attention problems across the class or even revealing embarrassing conditions at home that someone might not want to share with their class.

The overwhelming amount of dark screens also cause problems for the teachers. When a majority of the class has disabled their cameras, the teachers have no way of gauging facial expressions and see if students are understanding the material or even paying attention. Also, many students don’t learn very well just listening to a lecture and need face to face interaction with their classmates to effectively understand and complete their assignments.

It seems that as of right now, teachers and students will have to adapt to talking to blank screens as a majority of school districts across the nation, including Tahoma, are not currently requiring cameras to be on.