HHS experiments with GoGuardian to monitor students

In early September, HHS technology department applied for a free trial of a new software called GoGuardian, which could be embedded to all student’s Chromebooks in the near future .

GoGuardian, an educational technology company, provides schools with five core services, including the ability to monitor student activity online, filter content, and alert teachers of suicide or possibility of self-harm.

As of early October, test trials in classrooms began with five teachers who volunteered to test the software. With this new software, teachers are able to monitor students chrome-books, view the amount of time spent on each site, and view tabs that are opened on student’s browser, even if they aren’t being used. Other features on the software include, messaging between teachers and students, and teachers are allowed to filter content which allow or block websites in a student’s Chromebook. Students can’t message each other through the software nor can teachers allow websites that have been blocked at district level.

Junior chemistry teacher Mr. Ryan Entress,  who proposed the software to the Instructional Management Team (IMT), is among the five teachers testing GoGuardian. The other four include psychology teacher Mr. Barbagallo, freshman algebra teacher Mrs. Denmead, junior English teacher Mrs. Angelozzi, and senior honors English teacher Mrs. Peretti.

In an interview, Barbagllo describes the software as “omnipresent,” after being asked what the advantages to using GoGuardian were.

“The software could be described as ‘omnipresent,’ which is an advantage to the teachers. I can’t keep my eyes on 30 kids at the same time, so it feels better to now that with the software, they’ll be more likely to stay on task.”

Many students have reacted to the introduction of the software, some describing it as “an invasion of privacy.”

Barbagallo, however, doesn’t see it that way.

“It’s not, not to sound mean,” he said. “School is for learning, and this software is just another one of those tools to serve that purpose.”

Senior Madison Chainey is one of the students who are undergoing the testing phase of the software.

“I think it is convenient for teachers, but it does feel like an invasion of privacy,” she said. “I feel uncomfortable knowing that they can look at the stuff we look into during our free time. The software should only be put to use during tests, things that actually require supervision.”

As of now, the school isn’t sure if it’ll actually be used in a near future, that all depends how well it works for teachers, and the cost..