Cameras – An Important Note for Students & Families

Dear Niskayuna Students and Families,

As we close the first quarter of the school year, we would like to recognize the incredible work done by every person in our school community. We have accomplished something worth celebrating – bringing students back to school as often and as safely as possible.

We have also learned along the way. One area that has people thinking carefully is the question about student cameras on/off during instruction. It is our expectation that students have their cameras on as often as possible. This is extremely important as it helps teachers and students build a learning community together.

We also recognize, however, that requiring students to have cameras on at all times is not a best practice. It’s more complicated than that. The article linked below describes some of the reasons why we wouldn’t want to require students to have cameras on at all times.
https://www.gettingsmart.com/2020/09/camera-on-or-camera-off-its-a-complicated-question/

So how can we balance the need to see and interact with each other with the fatigue and stressors that being on camera brings? Let’s start small.

Students

  • If you haven’t had your camera on this year, start challenging yourself to do so by turning your camera on during attendance, when speaking to your teacher or when working with other students in small groups.
  • Follow your teacher’s guidelines regarding the use of the chat/unmuting/raising your hand to be sure you are participating to the best of your ability. Teachers need to hear/see you participate in some manner every day.
  • Consider letting your teacher know you are uncomfortable being on camera. The more you communicate, the better your learning experience will be.
  • Watch this video for some Online Classroom Video Etiquette // Zoom and Google Meet (6 mins)

Parents and Students

Parents, please encourage your student to turn their camera on as much as possible. Have a conversation with your student to discuss if/why they leave their camera off and how important it is to be an active participant in their learning. Here are some resources to help:

Thank you all for everything that you are doing to make this school year a success.

Marie Digirolamo
Assistant Superintendent for Instruction