The first segment of last week’s Freakonomics podcast addressed a question from a listener who asked if internet-connected cameras were placed in a “poor performing junior high classroom… would performance improve, would the students grow up and contribute positively to society”.
The hosts didn’t believe placing cameras in classrooms would make any long term difference (“the problem is no one’s going to watch”) but they did like the idea as an experiment that might get parents more involved in their kid’s education if they could tune in anytime.
I also have my doubts that the “power of scrutiny” would have any effect after the novelty wore off and I certainly agree with this stumbling block: “I can’t imagine how many lawyers you’d have to talk to before you could get even one camera in the room.”.
But I wonder if there might not be other reasons for classroom cameras.
For one, I’d love the opportunity to watch a great teacher at work on a regular basis, something beyond a single, special occasion drop in. And that teacher could in return receive professional feedback from far beyond their local circle.
What about it? Would you be willing to let colleagues from the world watch you work?