GoGuardian, a company that offers Chromebook management software for schools, has integrated its GoGuardian for Teachers classroom management with Google Classroom, and as a result, teachers will be better able to connect and communicate with students and be better equipped to protect them from harmful or distracting content.
Increasingly, classroom management systems are being integrated in schools nationwide to ease the jobs of educators. These systems allow teachers to organize activities, set due dates for assignments, track students' grades, and record attendance, thus considerably reducing the time educators need for clerical work.
Google Classroom is one of the most popular classroom management systems. The integration of GoGaurdian allows teachers to connect with students in real-time, allowing them to view and interact with the assignments on which they are working. Currently, according to Business Wire, GoGuardian technology is used by 200,000 students in nearly 2,000 school districts.
GoGuardian also helps educators create a list of off-limits websites, such as porn, hacking-related sites, online games, and movie streaming. It also tracks students' browsing histories and searches whenever they are using their school's Google software.
"We design all of our products with teachers, admins, and students in mind, but this feature [GoGuardian] in particular was the direct result of input and requests from the educators we talked to," said Tyler Shaddix, the GoGuardian for Teachers product manager. "In today's K-12 education landscape, the move to a more personalized learning environment catered to each student's individual needs is unprecedented, and technology is playing an increasing role in this movement as devices become more affordable, manageable, and readily available in schools."
Anya Kamenetz of NPR reports that there was an incident in Los Angeles in which the Ontario Christian Schools' director of technology, Ken Yeh, discovered a student searching information about suicide and self-harm. "When I looked at that history, I alerted our principals and guidance counselor to see if they could follow up and see what was going on," Yeh said.
The student was brought to speak with a guidance counselor, who constructively engaged with the student and deterred a potential tragedy. Across the 2,000 districts that use GoGuardian, there have been reports of dozens of similar anecdotes.
The technology can also be employed to pinpoint struggling students and make sure that they are receiving the help they need.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 10 to 24-year-olds; GoGuardian may be an invention that reverses that trend. Rodney Griffin, the Google coordinator in Missouri, says that kids prone to suicide are identified on an average of once a semester. "Anytime, day and night, I alert a school counselor or administrators," says Griffin. "I've had it happen when they contacted home at like 10 p.m. and said, âI think you need to check on your child.'"
Unfortunately, however, research indicates that identifying young at-risk youths is a complicated challenge. Students struggling with depression often fly under the radar of physicians, therapists, and guidance counselors. GoGuardian might equip parents and teachers an extra tool to better tackle this worrisome phenomenon.