AT implements monitoring software, ‘GoGuardian’

GoGuardian software made its way to students’ chromebooks this year in an effort to monitor and maintain appropriate chromebook usage during online tests and quizzes.

In short, “GoGuardian is a classroom management tool that helps students stay focused when learning online,” explained District 88 technology head Chuck Syperski. 

The software effectively enables “communication” between students and teachers by “allowing teachers to view their student’s screens and gain insights into what the student is doing during a class period.”

The use of GoGuardian at AT was first introduced as an attempt to aim student’s technology use toward district devices. Following in suit with the new phone policy at AT, primarily using school chromebooks instead of alternative devices and cell phones has been in administration’s top priorities, said Principal Andrews.

“The basis of it is, during an instructional period when a teacher needs students to be on task or on a specific site, it’s like the old school way of handing out an assignment and telling students to clear everything else off of their desks,” explained Andrews.

GoGuardian software is connected directly to students’ google classrooms, which was another factor in ensuring students all are using District 88 chromebooks. “Your screen should say something along the lines of ‘You are now connected to GoGuardian’ in said classroom.”

GoGuardian is available to use for all teachers, and is a district-wide initiative for both AT and Willowbrook. So far, the majority of teachers have given positive feedback in regard to the software’s ability to encourage a more productive work environment in their classes. 

The program restricts students from opening a new tab or using outside sources to work an assignment or exam. Another positive benefit of the software is a tool entitled “Scenes,” which allows teachers “even when they’re absent to still run their class,” said Andrews. 

Some students have reached out to staff and expressed various safety concerns within the GoGuardian program. Some believe that the program is more than a browser monitoring system, and that it poses a privacy issue within and outside of school. Some of these proposed breaches of privacy include using the software when students are doing work outside of school, or even gaining access to student’s webcams.

In response to these worries, Principal Jack Andrews reassured students that above all there is no webcam feature available within GoGuardian. “You should not be able to access a student’s webcam, GoGuardian is used for anything live on a student’s monitor.”

That being said, if a student had their webcam activated on their screen while a teacher was using GoGuardian, they would be able to see whatever is in the view of a student’s camera.

Additionally, as noted by Syperski, “Teachers can only view students’ devices when the student device is coming from the District 88 IP address or network.”

This ensures that the integrity of a student’s chromebook is secure inside the classroom and in their own homes. There are also various notifications within the program that will notify a student when their teacher is requesting to view their screen. Students will have to accept their teacher’s GoGuardian access via their own chromebooks.

GoGuardian is a step in the right direction for a renewed focus on education and attentive learning in AT’s classrooms. Requesting access to a student’s screen with a pop up notification, and unable to utilize any programs while outside of the district 88 network, GoGuardian is a safe and beneficial software for the students and faculty of AT. 

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