July 25, 2023

Differentiated Filtering to Fit Every Student’s Needs

Erica Hartman
An illustration of students and a teacher over a custom groups screen interface

Every day is different as a CTO, just like every student and situation is different. But while every day might bring new challenges, the need for flexibility remains the same. When it comes to student content filtering, you need something that’s customizable — and ultimately, time-saving. 

GoGuardian Admin is purpose-built for K-12 education and is a reliable solution for student content filtering. Looking ahead, our new features are making GoGuardian Admin a future-proof solution for K-12 schools and districts.

One such feature is Custom Groups.

The Penalty Box interface with an arrow pointing to the new Custom Groups title.

Have you ever wanted to apply granular filtering policies to a subset of students from different organizational units (OUs)? What about the ability to unblock certain sites for a group of students across different grade levels for a specific project or activity? 

With Custom Groups, you can! Custom Groups allow you to apply customizable filtering policies to individuals or groups of students regardless of their respective OUs to support differentiated learning. Custom Groups also streamlines the workload of Administrators with the ability to set Co-Editors, like Teachers, to help you manage groups, as well as automatically schedule students to be removed from the group at a specific date and time.

Custom Groups offers a restrive and non-restricted mode so you can create granular filtering rules based on students’ needs. 

Here are just a few examples of how Custom Groups non-restricted mode can make a big difference:

  1. Social media marketing dual enrollment course: A high school partners with a local college to offer a course where students can earn a certificate in social media marketing. Due to the nature of this course, students need to access social media platforms. However, the district does not want the entire population to have access to social media during the school day.

    Instead of creating and managing a separate OU for this class of students, the administrator can create a custom group and give the teacher of the course co-editor access to share the responsibility of managing the group. Co-editors can view and make changes to students from OUs they have access to, including adding and removing students. Before Custom Groups, teachers would have to contact their GoGuardian admin to remove or add a new student, adding extra steps and potential delays.

  2. Credit recovery: A group of students needs to complete a graduation requirement. During flex time, they report to their counselor for a quiet, supportive place to concentrate on tasks. The counselor wants students to only have access to their online course during this time to help mitigate distraction. The counselor can set up the Custom Group to end after flex time, so restrictions end when the students return to their daily schedule. In the past, the GoGuardian admin would have to manually remove them.

  3. Elementary reward: An elementary school principal wants to reward her students by giving them a once-a-week choice period. One of the choice rewards is time to play Roblox. The principal can easily manage the group, customizing the students and amount of time they have access.

Here are a few more use cases for Custom Groups:

  1. A student is serving in-school suspension: Use restrictive mode and only allow access to educational sites.
  2. School staff needs access to sites blocked by an existing policy: Use non-restrictive mode to grant access to websites for staff while maintaining the blocks for students.
  3. A few students are generating a lot of Smart Alerts with Twitter: Add these students to a non-restrictive mode Custom Group and add a block rule for Twitter to a duplicated version of the student's OU level Policy.
  4. A group of students earn a Netflix reward class period: Use non-restrictive mode to allow Netflix for those students.

Custom Groups are also great for any of the following (and more!): 

  • After school clubs
  • Summer School
  • Bilingual /ELL evening programs
  • Evening School 

As a former CTO and longtime super user of Admin, I can appreciate the level of customization and ability to delegate management of Custom Groups to other users. The ability to both reward students and provide guardrails is necessary, as is the sharing of responsibility of overseeing and managing Custom Groups. Now that many students have devices and with teachers working hard to address unfinished learning, product features that allow for flexibility, customization, and differentiated learning are more important than ever. 

Now that you’ve learned more about Custom Groups, we can’t wait to hear how you plan on using this exciting feature. 

Get started using Custom Groups!

This piece was originally published on October 5, 2022 and was updated July 25, 2023.