Distance learning in Spring 2020 saw educators scrambling to adapt their lessons for online delivery. Without two-way communication systems, many were left with limited ability to reach students. Thus, we saw an increase of assignments or lessons being handed out to students, while students had to complete the assignments on their own time using a variety of tools at their disposal at home.
By the time summer came around, schools had more time to acquire the tools needed to mimic live classroom sessions in a virtual space, including the many classrooms that added GoGuardian Teacher™ to their online learning systems. At the beginning of the summer, GoGuardian saw a need for two-way communication tools between students and teachers. Emails and chats simply weren’t enough for synchronous instruction, and Zoom was proving to be a security issue as random people from the internet were “zoom bombing” classrooms with inappropriate content. So we built a video conferencing platform specifically designed for K-12, right into our classroom management system that thousands of schools already used and loved.
Regardless of where students are learning, however, GoGuardian Teacher can support you with synchronous instruction—both during and after the pandemic.
Using GoGuardian Teacher for Remote Synchronous Learning
With many students at home and no opportunity to walk around a classroom to check on student activity, you need a way to connect and get all students on the same page during remote learning. GoGuardian Teacher is designed to do exactly that: get students on the same page online. The program has a view of all student screens so that you can quickly see what web pages each student has open on their browser tabs, as well as “Scenes” that you can set up for more additional control over students’ web activity during a classroom session. Along with the ability to lock screens and close distracting tabs, one of the tool’s most useful instructional commands is the ability to push tabs to students to get your class on the same page—without them fumbling around trying to find the correct link. Think of it like Airdropping a link: once you push it out, it shows up on the student’s Chrome browser without any work on their part to acquire the link.
You can run your lectures through a web page that all students are on together, or you can use a shared doc like a board to write out notes and instructions. Additionally, with Off-Task Alerts, you’re able to see which students are off-task so you can help get those students back on track. During a lesson, you and your students can send Chat messages with each other so that you can check on individual students or they can ask questions.
But it gets even better. You can also use GoGuardian Teacher to connect with students synchronously. You have the option to start a screen-sharing lecture/presentation with your camera and deliver the lesson while students are watching from home. Or you can initiate a group call that all students join so that you can recreate the environment of the classroom in a virtual setting. And if you don’t want students speaking out of turn during your lesson, simply mute their mics and ask them to send their questions through chat instead.
Some classes are in hybrid learning modes where students are both at home and in person, but GoGuardian Teacher can help teachers craft and deliver lesson plans to both student audiences synchronously in a more efficient and time-saving way. Read this blog for a deeper dive on how to use GoGuardian Teacher for hybrid teaching, including instructions on setting up a video conference call or a presentation with screen sharing.
Using GoGuardian Teacher for Synchronous Learning in the Classroom
GoGuardian was around long before the pandemic, and teachers happily used it in their physical classrooms. It was never meant to be a substitute for a face-to-face lecture or a blackboard, but for online exploration during lessons, educators found that GoGuardian Teacher (as well as other GoGuardian products) enabled them to provide safe and distraction-free learning environments for their students online. Students are able to use the internet during a classroom lesson without all the harmful and distracting content that an unfiltered browsing experience could bring.
In the same way that you’d use GoGuardian Teacher for at-home learning, our classroom management tool can support your classroom today and when schools return in person full-time again. Because GoGuardian Teacher is easy to use and sessions are easy to start, teachers who use our product have reported saving an average of 7.5 minutes of instructional time in each session. Think about all the time you’d save not having to walk around to each student to make sure they’re on the correct page. A simple glance at the students’ screens will tell you which students are off-task so that you can get them back on-task. And with quick link-pushing, you can get all students on the same page without having to spend time navigating them to it. It’s also easy to monitor students so that you’re able to course-correct those who are distracted or browsing where they shouldn’t be. Fewer distractions for one student means fewer distractions and interruptions for the entire class session.
Even when classes are back in the same physical space, the video conferencing tool will be useful for sick days or inclement weather. If there’s anything that distance learning in 2020 has taught us, it’s that we do have the tools to continue education even when students and teachers can’t physically be present together.
Technology in the classroom is the now and the future of the 21st century, and that includes learning experiences and preparations for future job opportunities. Teachers have been using the internet to teach for years now, and every year from henceforth will see even more internet connectivity in classrooms. Educators would be remiss to not incorporate these new technologies to support their teaching and to prepare students for using the expansive internet in their educational journey and beyond.