Extraneous Variables

I’m starting to think that the TV screen breaking was the greatest gift I have received since beginning the in-person and remote learning environment.

Now a few days into the TV breakdown (which broadcasted the remote learners), I realized that less is actually better. I was having a time of plugging it in with each transition, and placing it in a location where everyone could see the screen, which was compromising my space to work with students of both parties. This week my worries have gone down a bit, and I seem to be connecting more with the students.

Having said that, I know that time is also a factor in creating greater connection with the students. It can’t just be the TV, right? However, in being so frantic to plug, and unplug, and set up, I was sending myself into an unnecessary flurry of anxiety. One less piece of technology and I’m suddenly feeling a bit of release. It may be too soon to draw conclusions, so let’s look at this through a scientific lens:

  • The TV is the independent variable
  • My stress level is the dependent variable
  • The classroom environment and students are the control variable
  • Extraneous variables include: holiday on Monday creating a long weekend, more time in this new environment, slight changes to the schedule (forgot to mention these…).

Well, now it seems that are too many extraneous variables tampering with the experiment. It’s hard to tell if it was just the TV.

If more time with the students in the new environment is to be the independent variable to my reduced stress levels, then that means there is a light at the end of this tunnel.

If the slight changes to our schedule is the independent variable to my reduced stress levels, then I am pleased with the instant gratification it gave me.

If it is the holiday, then I’m out of luck.

And, perhaps still, it is all of the above! With too many changes within a couple days, it is difficult to determine. However there is room to observe. The holiday stress release may dissipate, and if that happens then will know that the holiday was simply temporary. If this happens and the schedule-changes creates conflict over time, it weeds out the schedule changes as the variable and reassures that time off is temporary. This leaves time and the TV. If my stress levels continue to rise, even if some days are difficult then we can see maybe it was time? The only way to know for sure, would be to run another experiment in a couple weeks with a TV again. If the TV makes no difference, then we can say that it was time after all.

If it is time, then I need to have a bit more faith.

I need data.

2 thoughts on “Extraneous Variables

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