Today’s contributor: Kate Luft is a 3rd grade teacher at Bear Creek Elementary. She is in her third year teaching and her first year as CIC! When not at school Kate enjoys walking her dog, Poppy at Zilker Park.
As students have their laptops full time this year, there is a new need to monitor what students are doing (or not doing) on their devices. Enter GoGuardian, the true hero of our Zoom 3rd grade classroom. The GoGuardian application has provided me the ability to monitor my students’ computers with a variety of helpful features.
Using this tool has been lifesaving at the elementary level. Often our students are seeing some of these tech issues for the very first time and lack the vocabulary they need to effectively describe an issue. This can lead to a very tiresome guessing game between parents, teachers, and students as we work together to problem solve on Zoom. However, with GoGuardian, if a student is having an issue, you can pull up the student’s screen, and add a visual to the trouble shooting. This has really helped everyone be better solution seekers in my classroom. We can all look at the same piece of information and efficiently move forward.
Recently GoGuardian has made this even easier as teachers can now annotate screens. As teachers, you can drop a colored dot to highlight different things on a student’s screens. So handy!
Personally, my favorite tool has been the Scenes feature. This tool allows teachers to create a “scene” that allows websites or blocks websites.
If the teacher utilizes the feature that allows websites, students are only able to visit the URLS the teacher has added to the list. If the teacher utilizes the feature that blocks websites, students can go to any website that is not on the blocked list.
Although, you will hear an echo of groans through the classroom when kids discover the scene is on, with less distractions students often redirect themselves to more on task activities. In my classroom, we have a pretty solid check in system with the scenes. I will turn a more limiting scene on, then once students are done with their to do list, they show me their submitted assignments, and then I exclude them so they can have more freedom to complete may dos. It may feel limiting at first, but it has really worked in helping everyone turn in their work with integrity.
Finally, using GoGuardian is almost effortless. Because it’s on every district Chromebook, the enrollment process is very simple. As well as, you can set up a timer to automatically turn on and off. This feature is especially nice at the elementary level as the kiddos switch around a lot less throughout the day. Once you log in for the day, keep the tab open, and you’re all ready to roll in the classroom!