May 27, 2021
It’s challenging to achieve effective classroom management — keeping students on-task, productive, and safe while learning — when digital devices are involved in the classroom.
Before the digital age swept through schools, it was more obvious when a student was avoiding eye contact, reaching or looking under their desk, or playing with a game in their hands rather than listening to the lesson. It’s less obvious when a student is searching for harmful topics on Google rather than the lesson’s subject matter, or watching TikTok clips rather than the educational video they were assigned.
Content filtering tools have become key for teachers in managing their classrooms. Content filtering for schools is more than just a CIPA requirement — it can increase productivity, protect school resources, and ensure the safety and privacy of students. The right content filtering software can offer all these benefits at home and at school to support both remote and in-person classrooms.
Here are four reasons content filtering is key to effective classroom management.
Using digital devices in class opens up a world of new learning opportunities for students, but the internet also holds a world of potential distractions. From social media and chatrooms to online games and apps, the online space offers plenty of ways for students to become distracted from the task at hand.
A content filtering solution allows schools to block student devices from accessing specific websites, platforms, and apps through the school network. This helps teachers increase productivity and focus in the classroom by removing the temptation of common virtual distractions, while still allowing students to access valuable learning resources online.
Advanced solutions like Linewize offer flexible web content filtering, empowering teachers with their own administrator privileges to determine what their students can and cannot access online. This gives teachers the freedom to make insightful decisions based on context for their students.
Effective classroom management involves more than just keeping students on task — it’s also about ensuring they are safe in their learning environment. That environment exists in both the physical and virtual landscape.
Protecting student privacy is complicated when each student has access to an internet-connected device, as this increases the risk of students encountering viruses, phishing scams, and spam. A student may inadvertently download malware posing as a free computer game onto a school device, or fall prey to a malicious phishing email asking for their personal information.
Content filtering for schools protects student privacy by restricting access to websites and platforms that bring a higher risk of cyberattack. This helps prevent students from downloading risky files or submitting their information to suspicious websites. Reducing the risk of a cyberattack is not only paramount to keeping student data protected, but also helps to preserve the lifespan of school devices.
With unrestricted access to the internet, students may find more than just a distraction from their schoolwork — it’s easy to stumble upon obscene content online, whether you’re looking for it or not.
Part of effective classroom management is creating an environment that fosters positive growth and development, and this includes protecting students from encountering content that’s too mature for their age. Consuming content that is violent, pornographic, or otherwise vulgar can sidetrack a child’s learning experience at best, or hinder healthy development at worst.
Web content filtering for schools allows teachers to manage the nature of content their students can and cannot see, based on their age and maturity level. With flexible tools like Linewize, educators can make decisions to lift or keep the filter in place for individual situations, depending on the lesson and context.
Students need to be equally safeguarded from what they could reach online, and what could reach them. Without close monitoring, predators or even peers may engage in targeting, bullying, or taking advantage of a student through online channels. Students facing mental health challenges may also turn to the internet seeking misguided solutions.
Modern content filtering for schools is more advanced than simply allowing certain websites and blocking others; content filtering software can monitor and flag keywords and phrases to help catch potentially harmful online activities as early as possible.
Solutions like Linewize, monitor for phrases that may indicate cyberbullying, suspicious interactions, intent to cause violence or intent to self-harm. By flagging these activities and sending alerts to the appropriate faculty members, content filtering tools can help schools catch early signs of trouble and intervene to prevent serious harm, and get students the support they need.
Content filters and other classroom management software tools don’t replace the need for teachers to pay close attention to student behavior in the classroom, but they do help ease the task of monitoring online activity.
In the modern classroom, whether learning is happening remotely, in-person, or with a hybrid model, teachers must pay attention not only to student behavior but also to the actual content on the screen of each child’s device. Since a teacher cannot physically be everywhere at once, content filtering software steps in to act as an assistant for effective classroom management — providing an extra set of eyes to watch over students’ online activity and support safe learning and growth.
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