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5 Ways Schools and Parents Can Protect Students in the Shift to Online Learning

The COVID-19 pandemic moved education from classrooms to living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms. Overnight, teachers and school administrators found themselves interacting with students over the internet rather than in-person.

These sudden shifts created a host of risks and opportunities. At Essential Network Technologies, we’re helping school districts throughout the Metro St. Louis region adapt to these new realities.

The convenience and efficiency of remote learning suggests it will remain popular long after the COVID-19 emergency has faded from view. For all these benefits, however, unfettered online access creates hazards for schools, teachers, parents and students alike. Distracted students lose focus. Explicit material exposes children to inappropriate content. Devices get lost, stolen or damaged.

To deal with these risks, ENT partners with GoGuardian, which builds software that helps schools manage their teaching environments while giving teachers tools to monitor student behavior, filter damaging content and improve learning outcomes.

The pandemic reshaped the need for these tools. In recent years, many schools adopted 1:1 online learning, which assigned every student a laptop computer with internet access. While 1:1 programs were designed primarily for the classroom, COVID-19 forces schools to make them work almost entirely with students learning from home.

These are five ways that GoGuardian helps us protect students while serving parents, teachers and school administrators:

Filtering and Monitoring Students’ Online Activities

Keeping students away from explicit content and distracting entertainment sites is a never-ending struggle for teachers and their supervisors. GoGuardian’s Admin package uses advanced filtering and monitoring tools to block inappropriate sites and monitor the online travels of students.

This has become a pivotal concern in the move to remote learning because schools cannot control the home environment. GoGuardian is installed on 1:1 devices like Chromebooks to ensure that young people using these devices see only what schools and parents want them to see.

Optimizing Remote Teaching 

GoGuardian designed its Teacher app to give teachers tools to keep students on task and avoid distractions. With the move to remote learning, the software now allows teachers to share their computer screens, cameras and microphones; conduct chats in real time; and generate the traditional back-and-forth required for one-on-one instruction.

The Teacher app reveals everything students are doing while using their 1:1 laptops. Teachers can monitor students’ activities and get them back on track when they stray too far from learning content.

Sharing Insights with Parents

Traditionally, teachers had to use manual processes to inform parents about their children’s progress in school. GoGuardian’s Parent App automates this process, giving parents an app they can download to their phones and access data revealing the sites their children visit and their overall classroom performance.

This gives parents the same data as their students’ teachers. That gives them a strong foundation for direct, honest conversations with their children. Moreover, the data in the Parent App provides the evidence teachers need to support their recommendations.

Protecting Students’ Mental Wellbeing 

A student’s mental landscape can change dramatically when learning moves outside the classroom. They lack interactions with their fellow students and spend more time in the company of their family, which is especially stressful for students enduring depression, anxiety and other emotional challenges.

GoGuardian designed its Beacon software to address these concerns. Beacon monitors search traffic and online interactions across chats, social media updates, emails and web app usage. Machine learning algorithms help the software alert parents and teachers when students engage in troubling behavior.

Managing Fleets of Devices  

One-to-one schools have hundreds of laptops that must be kept up-to-date, repaired if damaged and replaced if lost, stolen or destroyed. GoGuardian’s Fleet software, designed specifically for Chromebooks, makes it much easier for school IT teams to ride herd over all of these devices. A simple user interface saves IT people hours they would have lost trying to manage devices on spreadsheets or via the Google Admin console.

With GoGuardian’s help, we can ensure that every school in our service area has access to top-of-the-line technologies that improve the safety and effectiveness of remote learning. Please contact us to find out how we can help your school.

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