MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Bibb County School District plans to put cameras in every middle school and Veterans Elementary next year.
Ballard-Hudson Middle School tested the new audio/visual system this year. Teachers received their classroom cameras and speakers in October.
It took some time for 6th grade teacher Doneshia Gordon to get used to her new accessory.
“When it first came in, it was very hard to remember to put it on, to charge it before you leave. I even got to the point where I was like I don’t even need this mic! You can hear me,” said Gordon as she gestured to the teardrop shaped microphone hanging from her neck.
The new teaching tool is now a staple in Gordon’s daily routine.
“It’s called audio enhancement and what ends up happening is there are speakers in our room so it enables [students] to be able to hear better,” explained Gordon.
She said it’s especially helpful for students who sit in the back of large classrooms.
“Some students can’t hear if you have a lot of students talking, if you’re trying to get everyone quiet. When they start hearing you through the speakers it’s like oh, okay, I can hear everything she’s saying,” said Gordon.
Gordon also has a camera in her classroom. She can record classroom activity whenever she wants.
“I like to go back and evaluate how I did or what I could have done to make it better and being able to go back and see how you move, who you interact with the most, who you don’t interact with, you get to see things you wouldn’t pick up [otherwise],” explained Gordon.
Those recorded lessons can be put online for students to reference outside of school.
The cameras also remind students to follow the rules.
“We actually have seen improvement with student behavior,” said Ballard-Hudson Middle School Principal Eclan David.
David explained the school district is constantly recording classroom activity in case a teacher misses a recording.
“I would have to submit a request to the district office and they would send a copy of the video footage to me,” explained David.
David said he doesn’t have the ability to view classroom activity unless a teacher allows him access to his or her camera.
David hosts weekly meetings every Wednesday so teachers can share their classroom recordings and learn from one another. He said it’s a great way to keep teachers motivated to use the new technology. He advises principals who will be getting these systems in their schools next year to use similar motivation techniques.
Gordon and David give the new audio/visual system an ‘A’ and are excited to find other ways to use the technology.
“We would love to have teachers record exemplar lessons of themselves to just house in a professional learning library for our school, where they know that this is the lesson that shows me exactly how to teach the standard,” explained David.
Each audio/visual system costs $4,500 per classroom. The money is coming from the new ESPLOST.