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Are you looking for tools to create an effective online classroom? The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted learning around the world, resulting in many schools turning to distance learning. 

This has left many teachers grappling with software in the online learning environment that is possibly slightly foreign to them. A circumstance we empathise with immensely, and are looking for ways to be of more help!

Our previous article approached the matter from the perspective of school administrators and principals, who are looking for effective ways to deal with the situation at hand and roll out solutions that provide clarity and control over mobile devices for teachers.

In this article we will focus more on the teacher’s needs and the issues they confront in a distance learning environment. We will cover some of the various tools and platforms that may be utilised to empower and enhance distance learning.

In addition to tips and tricks, we’re currently running a $ 1 million software grant for American schools impacted by COVID-19 pandemic.  Find out more here, and how to apply.

Through the combination of Google Classroom and Mobile Guardian, teachers are in a great position to take control of their classes again. Allowing them to engage with their students in a direct and coordinated manner, despite the distance.

If you find yourself faced with the challenges of distance learning and need to set up an online classroom to ensure the continuity of learning, this article is for you!

What we’ll cover: 

  1. Tools for Online Classrooms
  2. Google Classroom & Mobile Guardian
  3. Managing an Online Learning Environment
  4. Finding Comfort in Distance Learning

Let’s dive in!

1. Tools for Online Classrooms

Finding the ideal software to facilitate an online classroom is important.  With the current crisis, it may seem like there isn’t enough time to deep dive into what tech options suit your requirements best. Rushing this decision may result selecting software that could leave you with a solution that hinders rather than helps your students.  

To help educators overcome this issue, we’ve put together a breakdown of useful online tools for your online classroom environment. 

This post focuses on  G Suite for Education. With Mobile Guardian, educators can really enhance the native  functionality of G Suite for Education. Mobile Guardian’s classroom management tools prioritise the teacher, enabling them to engage with their students, enjoy oversight of devices during class and share their screen during class. 

2. Google Classroom & Mobile Guardian

An Overview of Google Classroom

One of the standout tools of G Suite for Education is Google Classroom, an online classroom environment that allows teachers to effectively deliver lessons to their students.

With Google Classroom teachers are able to create their classes and lessons, and easily distribute them to their students in an online classroom environment. 

Be it making announcements, providing assignments, sharing links, there is a vast amount of classroom dynamics that Google Classroom brings to an online classroom. 

The main strengths of Google Classroom are as follows: 

  • Unified platform within the G Suite environment to assemble classes
  • Present class content  created in Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Sheets, Janboard, etc. in a single location
  • Distribute class content for particular classes in an easy and controlled manner 
  • Guide the conversation that students may be engaging in, in relation to the content available
  • Reuse previous class content for similar or different classes
  • Have a structured online learning environment

What makes Google Classroom and Mobile Guardian a good match, is that you can sync your classes using our Classroom Management tools. 

To understand some of the Google tools available, visit  our article on G Suite for Educators. If you want to develop an even greater understanding of Google Classroom, visit Google’s resource on Google Classroom and see how to get the best out of your online classroom environment. 

The combined benefits of Google Classroom and Mobile Guardian

“Okay, I see how Google Classroom may be of use, why would I need another tool on top of this?” 

A good question! 

Google Classroom is a powerful learning tool tool, however, Mobile Guardian’s classroom management tools offer a lot of value for educators. They give teachers insight into what students are doing online in real-time and enable educators to create an academic environment at home by restricting websites or online distractions like Youtube.

Think of Google Classroom as the online classroom environment, providing the means to creating and making the class content available, and Mobile Guardian being the teacher, standing in the students lounge or bedroom ensuring they are being attentive.

Watch the below video to get an idea of the how you may remotely manage Chromebooks in Class with Mobile Guardian. 

These tools help teachers overcome some of the challenges of distance learning. Assisting teachers address concerns of students paying attention and accountability during class. Mobile Guardian’s classroom management tools offer a way for teachers to provide guidance to keep students focused on the task at hand. 

Using Mobile Guardian, teachers are able to:

  • Have a live view of students’ activities on their device
  • Review students’ online activities after class
  • Directly message students (one-way, one-on-one communication)
  • Share screens with the class (either the teachers screen or a student’s screen)
  • Integrate and sync Classes directly from Google Classroom 
  • Push content directly to students’ devices
  • Close and control online content viewed on a students device

If you would like to see how this solution may apply to your unique tech challenges, sign up for a demo and we’ll gladly illustrate how this may be achieved.

3. Managing an Online Learning Environment

Along with helping students stay focused and on track, Mobile Guardian’s Web-filtering tool enables teachers to limit and restrict what content their students can access online. 

There appear to be two extremes in regards to Web filtering and online browsing activities. The one extreme being where students learn within a completely controlled kiosk-like environment, without any freedom or autonomy in their browsing capabilities. The opposite side of the spectrum being that students try to learn without any form of restrictions and are able to view any form of content that they desire. 

We’re of the opinion that a happy middle ground provides the best results. 

A balance between allowing students agency over their ability to browse safe content, without access to any particularly harmful or toxic content. 

Mobile Guardian allows for school administrators to create an online browsing environment that is inline with their ePolicy and ensure that students are cared for while browsing the internet. 

Mobile Guardian’s Web-filtering tools:

  • Are cloud-based, allowing for powerful web filtering on and off school premises   
  • Comprehensive and selective web filtering
  • Allows teachers to restrict and/or allow websites during class: e.g. If Youtube is blocked, a single Youtube url may be white listed for access during that class. 
  • Record all changes and adjustments of settings for clear accountability
  • Create restrictions that apply at the class, grade, school, or district level

IT administrators and teachers are able to ensure that students may safely browse content that is suitable and not in contravention with school ePolicy procedures. You can read more about setting up an Acceptable Use Policy here.  

4. Finding Comfort in Distance Learning

The key learning point from this article is that finding a solution that works for you and your school is crucial. From administrators to teachers to students, creating a functional and enjoyable online classroom is crucial to continued learning.

Distance learning may be disruptive to the learning process, but with Google Classroom and Mobile Guardian, we are confident that the continued transfer of knowledge is possible at during trying times.

If you think Mobile Guardian could be of assistance in enhancing your online classroom and distance learning environment, sign-up for a demo here, or you may apply for our grant here.

Onwards, 

The Mobile Guardian Team

 

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