What Is GoGuardian?

What Is GoGuardian?

Fatima Diarra

Welcome to the wonderful world of virtual learning. Grab a laptop, put your headphones on, and let the learning begin. A new feature to the assortment of school technology is GoGuardian. A few weeks ago, the teachers and students learned about the district’s use of the application and what that would mean. Since then, the teachers have had two professional development sessions to learn how to use the technology and to ask questions. So, what is GoGuardian and how is the school using it?


How Does It Work?

GoGuardian is a monitoring tool connected to all the school issued google accounts. The system works in two ways. It allows teachers to see what kind of tabs students have open and monitors the content students have when using their google accounts. 

GoGuardian gives teachers access to the tabs students currently have open on their school issued chromebook. On the chromebooks, GoGuardian can be seen as an extension. When a teacher is in a class and they activate GoGuardian, a notification pops up to inform the student that the extension has been turned on. GoGuardian gives teachers the ability to see what students are looking at, giving them direct messages that appear on their screens, and closing them out of tabs if they are off topic. These features only work on school issued chromebooks because that is where the extension has been installed.

GoGuardian’s monitoring abilities work on any device using a school issued google account. It monitors content from google and related google apps such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, Gmail, and so on. The school has gone through and customized the settings on GoGuardian so that only items on the filter will be flagged. Content flagged for a third grader is different from content flagged for a junior in high school. After content has been flagged, it will go to administration and the respective school principal to assess the situation.


What Are The Limits?

As much as GoGuardian has access, there are also limits placed on the system. The limits fall under two categories, function and permissions. How the school set GoGuardian to function places limits on time and area of use. GoGuardian functions between the times of 7am to 4 pm on school related applications. During that time teachers only have access to their own student’s chromebooks. GoGuardian works on school issued chromebooks and any device using the school issued gmail. The Google and ClassLink apps are what GoGuardian looks through since they are all connected to the school system. Other applications, documents stored on personal harddrives, and devices that are not logged into a school account will not be monitored. 

The limits to GoGuardian’s reach also apply to which faculty has access to the data collected. There are few faculty members with access to the recorded content. That few includes the superintendent, the technology director, and the principals of the different schools. Even though these individuals have access, it is impractical to look through the content of hundreds of students, which is why the filters were put in place to notify administrators of items of concern. 


Why GoGuardian?

GoGuardian is a tool used by many schools. The goals for our current use are to increase student engagement and for security. 

Teachers can use GoGuardian to make sure students are on task and understanding what is being taught. GoGuardian is not meant to be overbearing. It was emphasized to the teachers that there should be flexibility. Applications that are helping students focus and not taking away from their work, such as music or a podcast in the background, should not be penalized. The hope is for teachers to be able to get feedback on what is being understood and what needs to be reviewed. For the students, it is to pay attention and learn in an environment that minimizes distraction. 

GoGuardian is also being used for safety. Concerns that may have been picked up on in the school building, cannot be seen since everyone is at home. GoGuardian’s monitoring feature is making sure students do not have age inappropriate content or content that poses a health risk. Using the filter, the school can identify and address the issue before things escalate.


GoGuardian is not perfect, it is a work in progress. The teachers and administrators work together to identify issues and places where the program can be improved. As the teachers use GoGuardian and give feedback, the administration can find solutions and make the system better. Currently we are all learning about GoGuardian and how it can be used in the best way for both teachers and students.