Cameras on, distractions off


Photo provided by: Cassidy Howard

During 4th period, sophomore Cassidy Howard sits in her Accounting 1 class through Seminole Connect, her camera, along with the rest of the students, off. During the 2nd semester, this will not be allowed.

Avery Ranum, Staff Reporter

Starting Jan. 4, Seminole Connect students are facing a new challenge. From that day on, they will be required to keep their cameras on throughout the class, allowing teachers to better monitor them.

The past semester has clearly displayed that students on Seminole Connect are struggling more than face-to-face students as seen by the percent of Seminole Connect students failing versus face-to-face students. These new protocols are meant to ensure that students are engaged in class, as well as fill the State of Florida’s seat time requirements needed for them to pass.

“The slogan I have is if you fail, fail with dignity,” Television Production teacher Brian Keyes said. “People are not logging in, not doing their work, and we need to have some sort of evidence that shows that they are attending school, so I’m all for it.”

There is a certain disconnectedness between showing one’s face online versus in the classroom, which can make the new camera requirement anxiety-inducing. 

“On connect, you never get the chance to build bonds with your teacher, nor kids in your class,” sophomore Cassidy Howard said. “Some kids might not feel comfortable with turning on their camera, which could lead to an issue.”

For students without webcams, a limited number can be provided by the school. As for students who feel uncomfortable showing their home in the background, they have the option to use the Webex Virtual Background, which will hide what is behind them and only show their face. The use of audio will not be required, but the use of the chat will be a substitute for it. 

“I think that being able to be seen and heard will be beneficial to my learning,” sophomore Abigail Roberson said. “Teachers will be able to pay more attention to the students which could positively impact their grade.”

The use of cameras are not meant to be a punishment,  but rather hold students accountable. Hopefully, taking these actions will result in better student participation and academic performance.

“It’ll be time for students to step up and ask questions,” Keyes said. “It’s time to be an active learner in school.”