Thursday, January 27, 2011

Big Brother is Watching You

Big Brother is Watching You

While I was teaching in Port Washington, the use of video tape and TV’s in the classroom was just starting.

I was teaching a course in Child Development and was discussing the way neglected babies, babies that are not touched often, don’t develop properly.  To back up my point, I had borrowed from Queens College, a film of a study done in a South American orphanage showing this.

I took the film down to the schools Audio Visual Department and had them transfer the film to video tape so I could use it in future classes.

While there, the head of the Department a teacher named Dave, suggested I use the video tape for the day’s lesson instead of using a projector and screen. 

Dave would set up a feed to a TV in my classroom and the students could watch the film.  He casually mentioned that he could put my image on the screen from the studio.

An idea began forming in my head.

Using the school paging system and the television feed, I could continue the lesson after the video from the studio control room. 

I thought this would be fun for me and the students and potentially be a way to teach several classes at once.  The last bit was just an excuse. Fun was the real incentive here.

The class started.  The video began.  Just before the video ended, one of my colleagues came into the classroom and I hurried down to the broadcast studio.

The minute the video ended, a message came on the screen:  “Ask Mr. Dreyfuss” and I appeared on the TV screen.

I proceeded to tell them that through the miracle of Television, I could both see and hear them.

In actuality, I couldn’t see them, but the school paging system allowed me to hear them since it was a 2-way system and the TV was placed directly under the loudspeaker through which the paging system operated.

They didn’t believe me and I could hear the scoffing at my claim of being able to see and hear them. 

Fortunately, one voice in particular stood out.  A young male student, we’ll call him Rich, was very recognizable as someone I could easily identify speaking.

I knew where he was sitting in relation to the TV and I turned to look in his direction, pointed to where I thought he was sitting and said: “Rich, please pipe down, I can’t hear any questions.”

I identified another voice and turned in that student's direction.  "Bob, I can see you in the back there, let's keep it quiet," I said.

There was dead silence.

I heard whispers of “He really can see us and hear us”.

“Ok, settle down, I’ll take your questions now” I said.

The lesson continued for the next 10 minutes until the bell rang.

I hurried up to the classroom.  They students were still in the hallway.   They were in awe that I could see and hear them “through the TV”.  I became a TV celebrity for the afternoon; students were talking about it for the rest of the day.

My colleague who had sat in for me was in the Teacher’s Lounge, laughing hysterically.

That was the whole point.

No comments:

Post a Comment