My school has been using GoGuardian this year to monitor student activity on their Chromebooks. I like GoGuardian, even though I wish there was a way to send a message to a student without locking their screen (really my only gripe about the site).
In my class, Desmos is the main reason for students to be on their Chromebooks. I have been using Google Classroom and other websites, too, but usually it’s pretty easy to monitor my students because there’s only one website they should be on. I know that in other classes, it’s tough when there are a few they could be on at a time. Really, teachers in my school have had issues with kids playing games and streaming YouTube during class and it has caused some teachers to want to say no to Chromebooks in general, but I have some rules that have helped me with the monitoring.
- Use the Go/No Chromebook sign that the Tech Committee made for all teachers at the beginning of the year. Yes, I will sometimes forget to flip it. However, because I’ve been so adamant about it, I usually have a student who will let me know that I forgot to flip it. If the sign is on No Chromebook, then it shouldn’t even be out on the desk at all. If the sign is on Go Chromebook, then the Chromebook should be only on the websites that I have directed them to.
- Show the students at the beginning of the year what GoGuardian is able to do. Not only can I see their current screen, but I can also see what they were on before through their timeline. If I wanted to, I could look at their screen in particular and see all of their open tabs. With GoGuardian, I can also close tabs, open new tabs, and lock screens if I need to. Once the students know that, they are *usually* ok about what they go on and I don’t have to sit by my computer to stare at GoGuardian. I have even used GoGuardian to show the class what students were doing that I wanted to exemplify (mostly before I was using Desmos Activity Builder, though).
- Have a warning system – the first time I see a student on a site they shouldn’t be on, it’s just a warning. The second time, they lose their Chromebook for 10 minutes. The third time, they lose their Chromebook for the rest of class. The fourth time, I take their Chromebook down to the office. These are stricter rules than what the school has in place at the moment, but once you show the class that you mean business here by doing this for the first few students, they don’t want to risk their Chromebook being taken away. And yeah, it sucks when students are supposed to have their Chromebooks to use and they get it taken away, but they can share with someone or do something else until they get it back.
These aren’t revolutionary ideas or anything. They just have to be consistently enforced. Sure, there will always be students who try to get away with more, but Chromebooks help more than hurt, in my opinion.
Sauvez les Chromebooks!