Cell phone cameras in the K-12 classroom: Punishable offenses or student-citizen journalism?

[cross-posted at LeaderTalk]

Take a look at the seven YouTube videos below, all taken by student cell phone cameras in classrooms. Do we want students bringing to public attention these types of classroom incidents? Should students be punished or applauded for filming and posting these?

122 Responses to “Cell phone cameras in the K-12 classroom: Punishable offenses or student-citizen journalism?”

  1. I watched all the videos but grew tired of reading all the comments. (As interesting as they were, the were all very similar.) One thing that seems to be missing from many is the role of the teacher. As a classroom teacher, I recognize that these problems are part of a pattern that begins on day one. Traditionally students come into class ready to learn. I call this the honeymoon period. It is during this time that teachers have to establish routines–one of which is respect. Although I hesitate to critique my colleagues since I do not know the context of the clips I saw, I do wonder how engaged these students are? What methods are being used to deliver instruction.
    There are many well meaning teachers who simply are unaware of the changing realities under which they labor. Technology has changed students’ minds. As educators we have to stop clinging to the old way of doing things (lecture and worksheet) and embrace these changes. The fault lies with the administration and the school boards who demand rigor and improved test results but refuse to pay for teachers to update their skills.

    • I did feel very sorry for each and every teacher who found themselves in this position. I do agree that it does take a lack in skill to get to the point where students are flagrantly disrespectful. Unfortunately, I’m not sure the teachers realized that. Before I entered my first classroom, I knew that the best way to deal with a troublesome one was to cut it from the herd, then discuss the behavior. No public embarrassment to the student and no one to impress.

  2. This is why China will overtake America in the next 100 years. Your children’s grandchildren will be slaves to their Chinese overlords. Bring corporal punishment back into the schools, take away the cellphones and internet and tv garbage. The parents are retarded, the kids are animals. Good luck.

  3. Catching Sparrows Rounds Up The Edublogging Discussion on Classroom Mangement

    Here you go: Anyway, if you haven’t noticed the recent debates/commentaries on classroom management, you don’t get out into the blogosphere enough, so I’ll bring it to you. dy/dan posted about classroom management, Dangerously Irrelevant then one-up


    Dangerously Irrelevant: Cell phone cameras in the K-12 classroom: Punishable offenses or student-citizen journalism? Take a look at the seven YouTube videos below, all taken by student cell phone cameras in classrooms….

  5. Problemas escolares

    Una serie de 7 videos en los que estudiantes filman a sus profesores al borde de un ataque de nervios por la faltas de respeto.

  6. Front Page of the New York Times…

    My dad used to say to us growing up: Act as if what you are doing will be on the front page of

  7. Front Page of the New York Times…

    My dad used to say to us growing up: “Act as if what you are doing will be on the front page of the New

  8. lol lol lol lol lol lol lol lol yes schools schould have cameras

  9. This is horrible. It makes my stomach uneasy. These students are as out of control as the teachers yelling at them. As a mother, I would be horribly ashamed if my child were provoking a teacher like some of those students in the videos. On the other hand as an educator, I would be mortified to see myself in my weakest moment loosing a battle with self control as my students egged me on. I have been on both sides of the spectrum… The disrespectful, self-righteous/centered teenager, as well as the furious, ridiculous,ranting teacher. Both of which now make me feel ashamed. The students should most definitely not be applauded for their recordings, but the teachers need to be dealt with accordingly as well. Classroom management has gone out the window here. When you are in a position of leadership, be it a classroom or not, you cannot take low blows personally. You must keep your ego under wrap and let the students know that you’re there to teach, not argue. These disgraceful power struggles, illuminated by youtube, are no-win situations.

    • I agree with Diana Brown, that the videos are horrible and sickening. I also agree that I would be ashamed of my children for behaving that way in any setting. However, I would like to think that I would be aware enough of my child’s daily life that they would not be in a classroom where the teacher relies heavily on lectures, rote memory and ritualized adherence to nationalism. I hope I am able to steer my boys into classrooms where the teacher at least clarifies the reasons for them to learn they way they’re being taught, not including “that’s the way it’s done.”

      As for the existence of these videos: they are useful to teachers, if only to show us how pitiful we look when we stoop to the level of name-calling and insults too many of our students wallow in themselves. If we cannot consistently model decorum and civility for our students we have no right to expect them to outperform us in a situation where we are, ourselves, failing. I also hope that, should any of these teachers deliver a stimulating and enlightening lesson, their students will be just as quick to give them props online as they are to humiliate them.


  10. This is a sad indictment of our society. Brainless maniacs come to our classrooms every day with no sense of discipline and no accountability. Teachers are constantly burdened to “do more” with less and realize, at the end of the day, whatever occurs in their classroom is their fault. Who’s to blame? Parents? Society? We feed various stereotypes that make kids aspire to all the wrong things and many read two or more years below grade level.

    What is the solution? Accountability…

    Make a parent PAY for a failing grade by requiring payment for a re-do. Then, let’s see how many kids “act a fool” in the classroom.

    I taught in public schools for four years. It is a nightmare developing on a run away train…

    • @Steven (Stephen?) King Your teaching experience is clearly different from mine. I hope that I would have the fortitude to leave such atrocious conditions. I might even write a few horror novels about the trials of adolescence in a world so obviously overrun by evil and darkness.


  11. In the videos depicted above I think it is evident that BOTH students AND teachers behaved poorly. That said, with the exception of the first video most of these teachers appear to be unaware of the fact that they are being video-taped and I think that’s shameful for a number of reasons. The first and most obvious reason is the violation of privacy I feel this behavior constitutes. Also, I can’t help wondering how students would feel if their classroom behaviors were videotaped by teachers and then uploaded to youtube without their informed consent.

    Perhaps part of the controversy here is the changing notion of privacy in a digital age. The evolution of privacy’s definition has not kept pace with the ubiquitous nature of public technology and social media. A great paper on this topic was written by Ramon Barquin and Clayton Northouse of the “Computer Ethics Institute” take a look if you want to learn more, section three is particularly compelling and relevant to this discussion:


    • To me this video shows the disconnect between older generational thinking and a new paradigm. Children have more rights today than adults. Adults work in an environment in which they are held accountable for outcomes and not given supports and resources to work effectively.

      The real issue is not what happened it is what was to do to assure this kind of interaction does not happen. In schools today, teachers (substitutes in this case) are expected to manage participants with diverse learning needs while at the same time, having no knowledge of what the needs are of the participants, no training to manage bad outcomes and no staff support.


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