What is Chrome browser monitoring?
Schools and families turn to browser monitoring to protect children online. Browser monitoring allows a teacher or parent to view a child’s digital activity. It’s used to prevent harmful situations online and provide feedback. Since Chrome is the most popular browser, Chrome browser monitoring is widely used to safeguard digital environments. It also helps with productivity by keeping learners focused during online sessions. Plus, it strengthens their digital citizenship skills.
How does Chrome browser monitoring work for K-12?
According to Google, pre-pandemic 40 million students and educators used Chromebooks around the world, and that number has significantly increased. Many K-12 schools issue Chromebooks and Google accounts to learners for digital instruction. Chromebooks prepare learners for life beyond school, giving them one device for researching, collaborating and creating. Chromebooks can also be used at school and at home. Although Chromebooks are beneficial for learning, it’s essential for schools to keep students safe and on task while using them.
Chrome browser monitoring tools are installed on school Chromebooks, often as an extension. When students are logged in to Chrome for learning activities, teachers can use the tool to keep students safe and focused. The best K-12 tools for Chromebooks also help schools teach digital citizenship and guide students to become independent learners.
Browser monitoring gives teachers a real-time look into students’ online activity during instructional time. With a monitoring tool, teachers can view learners’ open browsers and close tabs that aren’t educational. It may also show a report of their activity and when they were online.
Why is it important?
Keeping learners safe
Every school needs to keep students safe during digital learning. In fact, Congress enacted the Children’s Internet Protect Act (CIPA) in 2000 to protect students. Schools need to follow CIPA if they want to be eligible for the E-Rate program. The program gives schools and libraries valuable discounts on communication products and services.
CIPA states that school “internet safety policies must include monitoring the online activities of minors.” Schools that use Chromebooks need to use Chrome browser monitoring if they want to comply with CIPA.
It also requires schools to “provide for educating minors about appropriate online behavior.” Browser monitoring should go beyond controlling what learners see online. Schools and teachers need to build learners’ digital citizenship skills as they work on Chromebooks. That way, learners can eventually use those skills in the real-world outside their school work.
Keeping learners on task
Students need to be focused on learning during instructional time. Digital learning can bring challenges for classroom management, though. When teachers are not instructing in-person, they can’t circulate the room to give feedback.
For school districts that provide Chromebooks to students, Chrome browser monitoring helps teachers manage their classroom, even if students are learning remotely. Teachers can see student progress and give feedback without needing to be there in person.
What does it do?
Chrome browser monitoring allows teachers to check in on students’ Chromebook screens during 1:1 classroom or virtual learning. As students are working online during their class, teachers can check in on them. The monitoring tool will show them what websites students have open on their Chromebook.
Some monitoring tools work only while learners are on a school campus, while others work for both in-person and off-campus learning. If a student has a tab open that isn’t aligned with the learning task, the teacher can close it. They may also be able to see a list of URLs students have recently visited. Some Chrome monitors show administrators when a student last used the browser and what extensions or apps they have installed as well.
A monitoring tool alerts the student when it has been activated. If it is added as a browser extension, an icon will appear to show that the tool is working.
Most school districts monitor student internet activity. School policies explain how devices and browsers are monitored, and students sign the policies the first week of school. It’s crucial to communicate policies clearly to parents, especially if students take their Chromebooks home.
There are several things to consider when deciding on a Chromebook monitoring tool. Not all tools work the same way, and it’s important to choose one that benefits both teachers and learners.
Hāpara Highlights K-12 monitoring tool
Hāpara Highlights stands out among other monitoring tools because it takes an ethical approach to Chrome browser monitoring. While teachers have visibility into learners’ online activity, the goal isn’t to police learners. Instead, Highlights allows teachers to build learner independence and take opportunities to talk about digital citizenship.
Increase teacher effectiveness and efficiency
Highlights helps teachers easily manage and personalize the content learners see online, making digital instruction more effective. To create safe digital environments, they can curate a set of websites and share them with students. Plus, teachers can quickly filter out any websites that are distracting or not appropriate. This guided browsing experience helps set up students for a positive learning experience.
Remind and guide learners
With Highlights, teachers can remind students about responsible online behavior or give positive feedback when they are on task. Teachers can send instant messages to students, groups or the whole class for personalized feedback during instruction.
Another feature that sets Highlights apart from other Chrome browser monitoring tools is the ability for teachers to quickly share links. They can use this feature to send students a more appropriate website if they are off task or need help with research.
Enable gradual release of responsibility
Highlights helps K-12 schools teach learners how to make healthy digital choices. By gradually releasing online responsibility, students learn how to navigate the internet on their own. The goal is for them to make the right choices when using the internet outside of school and in the future.
For example, at the beginning of the school year, teachers may start with more control. They can use Highlights to close tabs and focus browsing sessions in the moment. Later they can create filtered browsing sessions with specific websites so learners can research on their own. As the school year goes on, teachers can give learners more digital responsibility. They can set up focused browsing only for assessments and check in on open tabs from time to time.