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Are you still closing tabs?

Are you still closing tabs?

K-12 monitoring software can be incredibly helpful when students are learning on Chromebooks or other mobile devices. Most tools provide visibility into what learners are doing online and give teachers the ability to close tabs. Closing tabs is crucial when learners encounter harmful or inappropriate content online, but oftentimes educators can get stuck in a constant game of whack-a-mole with learners because their monitoring software doesn’t facilitate ways to develop digital citizenship skills in their students. Hāpara Highlights offers a better way to use monitoring software in K-12 classrooms with features that encourage digital citizenship, so teachers can move away from closing tabs and toward a measurable impact on student behavior. 

Let’s explore the continuum of the four types of monitoring software used in K-12 education, and where some of the available tools on the market sit on it. 


Solely closing tabs

Teachers are provided with a monitoring tool, and proceed to close off-task browser windows. Students may be unaware that their browsing is being monitored, and are displeased to find that they are monitored.

How can Hāpara help? 

Hāpara Highlights has a feature called “Reason for closing tabs.” It prompts the teacher to provide a reason every time they attempt to close a tab. Students may be digital natives, but they still have to be taught digital citizenship and providing them with the reason that their tab is being closed is one step toward doing that. If a student doesn’t know why their tab was closed, how can they correct the behavior that caused that to happen? Schools can customize their reasons to phrases such as: 

  • Hello! I see you’re lost on the internet. 🙂 Please redirect your focus to the right task!
  • This site does not reflect our learning right now. 
  • Please focus on our classwork.

Teachers can also send short messages to students to redirect them, encourage them or give them a warning that their current behavior needs to be corrected.


Locked down and hand held

A new classroom dynamic is taking hold. The teacher has grown accustomed to closing browser windows, and students are aware that they are being watched. Teacher tab closing exists, and classroom management is dependent on catching and redirecting off-task or inappropriate browsing behavior. Students are aware they are being watched. Student behavior is only changed through punitive and coerced action through limiting accessible websites, and forcibly closed tabs with off-task behavior reporting used for disciplinary reasons.

How can Hāpara help? 

In Highlights teachers can focus student browsing on a group of sites they have curated in advance that model reputable websites that provide reliable information. Teachers can gradually increase the collection of sites that students can use for learning. They can also create templates so that they don’t have to enter lists of allowed URLs every day. Since learners grow at different paces in their digital citizenship they can focus student browsing for different lists of curated websites and pages for groups or individual students. 


Structured and semi-independent learning

Here the classroom dynamic begins to change, for the better. Classrooms in this phase are undergoing a gradual release of teacher control to support student agency and independent learning. The teacher has largely moved beyond the role of tech warden and can return to a pre-1:1 role as that of a … teacher! Students have been educated on the proper use of technology in the classroom, and use their computer as a learning tool.

How can Hāpara help? 

Teachers can begin to rely less on limiting students to particular websites, and instead filter out websites that typically distract them. In this scenario, a teacher may want to only filter out the latest online game that all of their students are crazy about while still allowing them the freedom to explore online for learning. During this time, teachers may want to share out specific links directly to learners’ devices if they see that they are on a website that is distracting or simply isn’t useful for the type of work the learner is doing. 


Independent learning 

At this phase, students have attained the ability to stay on task during class time. The cat and mouse game of monitoring has given way to the tool being used to aid learning.

How can Hāpara help? 

This is the point where the possibilities of teacher-student collaboration really open up with Highlights. For example, since the teacher can see their student working on a Google Doc assignment, they can send quick feedback and messages of encouragement. They can also quickly provide direction if a student needs more clarity on a topic. 

Hāpara Highlights is the only Chrome browser monitoring tool that moves teachers and students toward true digital citizenship and enables them to use the internet to enhance learning. This sets learners up for success in their K-12 journey and later in life in the workforce.

To learn more about how Highlights stacks up against other Chrome browser monitoring tools, download our free infographic.

Infographic - Are you still closing tabs?

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Learn what to focus on when building a culture of digital citizenship, including conversation starters for learners and educators!

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