Laptop software frequently causes the loss of work

use of Go Guardian in the classroom without student knowledge leads to many frustrated kids

Editorial Board, Editorial board

Not a lot of students actually know what Go Guardian is but many have no doubt experienced exactly what it does to the laptops we were provided by Austin ISD this year. Plenty of students have walked into class with windows full of tabs of work or interesting things open only to have them all closed and replaced with tabs that simply say “Uh-oh.”

Go Guardian is a function that is built into every school provided laptop that allows a teacher to take full control of the device at any point. All a teacher has to do is type in a student’s district email address into the Go Guardian system and then they can take over the computer. The Go Guardian software has the ability to pick out specific computers as well.

A teacher can have full control over what can be viewed on even down to the number of tabs can be open at any given time. It can be setup before class even starts so that as soon as students walk in and open their laptops the functionality can be limited.

Yes, there are students that misuse the use the tabs and windows to cheat or play around in class by hiding what websites they are viewing. Plenty of students take a quiz in BLEND in one tab and look up the answers in another.

While other students just play games or watch videos in class and don’t participate in class activities at all. Because of these students Go Guardian has great potential for encouraging students to actually learn during class time.

On the flip side there just as many kids who use their computers to do school work like research projects or taking notes. Any type of research, whether it’s for school or for personal use can take up to 20 tabs alone. Depending on a students workflow each of the tabs can hold important information for various ongoing projects a student might be working on.

Ripping student’s tabs away with no warning is just cruel and unnecessary. There’s no telling what someone could lose when all their tabs close. Sure you could shut down kids who are just playing games or watching videos, but you could also ruin someone’s research project, job application, work for other classes, or a college application.

We are not asking for Go Guardian to be trashed completely. We are just that teachers consider the possible consequences that a student will face before taking everything away. It’s simply inconsiderate to the hard working students who are actually using their district issued laptops for productive purposes when a teacher uses such a sledgehammer approach to dealing with classroom management problems.

We as the editorial board simply ask that teachers think before they act. We hope that this problem is the result of a teacher learning curve as they learn to manage the new student laptops in their classrooms and this isn’t just a series of malicious acts.

When teachers kill our tabs they could also be setting students back on hours of work they spent working on their computers. If you have experienced a sudden computer crash that has made hours of work simply vanish into cyberspace, you can understand our frustration. It’s only compounded when the work lost is caused by a teacher who is trying to force their will on the entire class without any consideration for the consequences.

All we ask for is a warning before we lose our work.