Zoom students might benefit from turning cameras off

Zoom Students e-learning

Did public health challenges force you to choose education for your kids via online classrooms? There might be more disadvantages than benefits. Millions of students of all ages and backgrounds worldwide attend online classes using Zoom or other teleconferencing platforms. According to studies into brain-behavior, a researcher identified some concerns about forcing students to keep their cameras switched on during lessons.

School girl
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Keeping in mind that kids from elementary school to colleges attend Zoom classes, the severity of the following disadvantages will vary. Furthermore, students are from different backgrounds, including those in affluent communities and the less fortunate who live in community facilities or even in cars or other makeshift homes. There is also no guarantee that all students have access to computers and the internet.

Educator's face
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Some students experience stress and anxiety

Educators presenting online classrooms often expect students to watch the entire class on their screens. It typically includes watching their classmates’ video feeds. Furthermore, seeing how their mates’ faces appear up close and enlarged might cause some students to feel threatened and uncomfortable.

For example, introverted learners might experience anxiety and stress when imagining their classmates, watching them up close. The researcher calls the body’s response “a flight or fight” trigger, which compromises the ability to maintain concentration throughout the class. Essentially, if keeping their cameras on is optional, it would mitigate these negative aspects of the new type of learning.

Young elementary level students
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Students with competing and distracting obligations

Not all students are fortunate enough to have their own PCs, laptops or other digital equipment. Many live in homes where parents work from home, siblings need access to different classes and more. Catering for the online needs of all could be challenging, if not impossible. Distractions can also include the student’s responsibilities to care for children or siblings while tuned into a zoom class. Daycare is not as readily available during the pandemic.

Such distractions could adversely affect the value of the class for that student. Furthermore, all the other classmates will have to deal with the same distractions if they all share the same screen. Imagine the chaotic lesson if several of the attendees have siblings or babies sharing their lessons. Not to mention that some teachers might have to deal with similar handicaps in their own homes.

E-schooling student
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Zoom fatigue is real

Zoom fatigue is entirely different from any other fatigue. We don’t always realize the role of a talker’s body language and hand gestures. For example, suppose only the face of the educator is on the screen. In that case, the students have to focus more intensely to interpret what is said because there is none of the usual nonverbal cues.

Such intense concentration throughout a whole day’s classes could be tiring. Additionally, forcing students to keep their cameras on also draws their eyes to the faces and surroundings of all the classmates who are logged in. That alone could be significant distractions. Additionally, frequent switching between tasks and engaging in various active video conversations decrease performance and impair memory.

Students possibly undocumented
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Right to privacy of students

Under the previous normal, students’ personal lives and living conditions were private. However, in the new normal, every student — and educator — who joins a class will invite all the other attendees into their homes. That is if they have to keep the cameras on. They are vulnerable to be the targets of uninvited Zoombombers who disrupt classes, gather and share personal information and more. All kinds of individuals could record and distribute the locations of students’ homes and other visible details. That could endanger the safety of families and loved ones of students.

In a contrasting manner, thousands of school-going students are undocumented, homeless or living with undocumented relatives. Leaving cameras on could amplify concerns of exposure to authorities. Students may feel embarrassed about their living conditions; leaving their cameras off could spare them the embarrassment.

These are only some of the problems students can experience if keeping their cameras on during Zoom classes is not optional. Unfortunately, the deeper one goes into this schooling method, the more concerns arise for both sides. Thousands of educators have at least some of their students without access to the necessary facilities to allow participation in Zoom or similar platforms. They undoubtedly struggle with their inability to engage with those students regularly.

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