Students increasingly spend more time online during (and after) the school day.
Even before the pandemic, students spent an increasing amount of time online during the school day. Rather than a traditional classroom set-up consisting of rows of desks, a whiteboard, and a teacher didactically reciting content to students, many classrooms across the U.S. have recently embraced a more collaborative model. While some students might read in a classroom’s “library nook,” others might work on an online instructional platform, watch an instructional video on their school-issued device, or begin drafting an essay using Google Docs.
These and similar online platforms fundamentally shifted the teacher-student paradigm. Rather than standing in front of the classroom lecturing for the entire class period, teachers can now “float” between discrete groups of students and assist only those who need help, allowing students to engage in more self-directed learning as well as collaborate with peers in their small group.
However, with more online learning, students increasingly confront the dangers of “wild west-style” internet browsing, where a lack of filters can expose them to non-instructional or even inappropriate content with just a few clicks. As schools embrace online learning and even remote instruction, in some cases, the need to monitor students’ online behavior has become more critical than ever. Below, we outline just some of the ways in which CTS helps keep students safe online, allowing schools to embrace the benefits of online learning while avoiding some of its pitfalls.
CTS offers web filtering services to keep students safe during online learning.
First and foremost, CTS offers all of its partner schools web filtering services to strategically block non-instructional or other inappropriate content on the school’s network. In some cases, students inadvertently navigate to an inappropriate or problematic website during the course of a research project while trying to type in the URL for a frequently visited site or by simply clicking the wrong link in a list of search results. Web filtering products ensure that these mishaps don’t result in the student encountering inappropriate content and give school administrators the peace of mind they need to allow students to access online instructional content independently.
CTS also works with its partner schools to tailor their web filtering services to the school’s needs. A filtering regime that’s too strict will prevent students from accessing the instructional content they need for class. At the same time, a system that’s too lax will inadvertently expose students to non-academic or inappropriate content. By identifying the unique instructional model of each partner school and collaborating with school leadership, CTS can craft a filtering system that makes sense for a variety of school settings.
Many schools also supplement these services with platforms like GoGuardian.
Of course, online filtering on the school’s network alone isn’t always enough. Due to both the sophistication of bad online actors and the practical reality that students often take their school-issued device home with them, students can often access non-instructional or inappropriate content when they’re off of the school’s network.
To mitigate this possibility, many schools invest in platforms like GoGuardian that apply many or all of the same filters available at the student’s school while the student uses a device off the school’s network. In this sense, these platforms extend many of the protections available at the student’s school to the student’s home setting, allowing online learning to continue in a manner consistent with the school’s existing policies. CTS helps schools launch and manage the deployment of platforms like GoGuardian to ensure they comply with the school’s broader technology programming and ultimately keep students safe online.
CTS also supports online learning by helping schools stay up-to-date on the latest online security software.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, CTS helps its partner schools stay up-to-date on the latest trends in educational technology. If a new filtering system launches that’s superior to what the school currently offers, CTS will alert school leadership and decide whether it makes sense for the school to invest in the new platform. The same holds true for platforms like GoGuardian that extend protection to the student’s home network. School administrators have enough on their plate as it is. The last thing they need is to scour the internet for the latest and greatest in online security systems. CTS takes care of this sourcing process so that schools can focus on students.
At CTS, we help schools use technology to accomplish their unique missions.
Our team has partnered with more than 60 schools across the United States to help schools launch and maintain world-class technology programs, all while keeping students safe online. With decades of experience in the educational technology sector, CTS has an unsurpassed understanding of schools’ needs and the technical knowledge to help them use technology to accomplish their instructional goals. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help your school achieve its unique mission.