Josh Davis has spent 14 years teaching high school special education and secondary school history, so he is well aware of some of the class constants. He understands how learning difficulties can make students feel different from their other classmates, how home problems sometimes manifest as class abuse, and that being separated for both positive and negative reasons is frightening to almost all students.
However, when Davis left the classroom, he discovered new constants and his current role as a teaching technology instructor Downy Unified School District In California. Repeatedly, they saw teachers resisting the adoption of technology because they did not want to try foolishly to do something new in front of the students.
Davis is committed to helping his teachers reach higher levels of tech integration. And there is a tool to help him on this journey Of GoGuardian Classroom management software, which his district adopted in 2018 as part of their one-to-one initiative.
To find out why GoGuardian teachers are a “pay-in-the-door tool,” EdSurge chatted with Davis, who found technology less intimidating for Downey teachers. He also shared amazing ways that the tool helps strengthen the student-teacher relationship and gives teachers the sense of security they need to try new things.
Edsurge: Can you give some references to the early days of Downey’s Adtech adoption?
Davis: In 2018, when we started putting equipment in the hands of teachers and students, many teachers were very hesitant. They feared that students would use their technology to cheat. We tried to help them understand that cheating students might already be cheating, but that fear still persisted.
We are excited about introducing technology to our students in the classroom because we know that many of our students do not have the equipment at home. The school was the only place to develop those important technology skills.
Being with GoGuardian, the teachers had an insight into how busy the students are and whether they are understanding the lesson. So the fear factor subsided and they started using technology. Teachers began using GoGuardian to stimulate student engagement, pushing documents or links to save class time. After that, I began to notice changes in GoGuardian teaching and methods of building relationships in the classroom.
Would you say a little more about how classroom management software helps build student / teacher relationships?
This is a whole series. For example, if a student has a hard day, they will not talk to the teacher because the whole class will know. But if the student sends a message to the teacher to say something private, they will do it.
This allows teachers to give real-time, one-on-one feedback to the student without speaking in front of the class. For example, if a student is working on an essay in a language art class and is out of the way, teachers may pop up a message on their screen that says, “Hey, this paragraph seems out of place, try to focus on that … ”
High school students, in particular, may feel lonely and ashamed even when you are doing something to help. With GoGuardian, teachers still give feedback and redirect students; They only do it privately. It goes a long way in building relationships.
And that’s just the beginning. We have not even touched on the ability to personalize education.
Let’s dig into it. How does this software support personalized learning?
When teachers deliver activities or materials to students, they do not need to share the same thing with everyone. Take math, for example: Teachers tell me they send out worksheets that students will meet at their reading level or ability level – without isolating them and creating stigma. If a student is performing well and completing quickly, teachers can share more challenging work and a tip that says, “Hey, you did a great job with that job. Why don’t you do it now? ”
The same is true for students with special needs. They may find fewer problems or custom tasks to complete their reading level. One teacher told me how her special education could integrate students into the classroom because their assistants could monitor and assist them through a GoGuardian teacher.
That simple change met their socio-emotional needs because they no longer had to sit next to their assistant all day. They can be anywhere and be part of the class. Again, it’s relationship building. Students feel that teachers are looking for them.
How are teachers in your district using GoGuardian to help students develop critical skills?
We are meeting some socio-emotional needs and we have reduced the fear factor for teachers. Now, it is exciting to see where they are ready to go. When people are not afraid to fail, they can do great work and you can see it happen here.
One of our teachers is using OneNote, Google Docs and Flipgrid in a US History course assignment on the Constitution. And it’s all run by GoGuardian Teacher. The goal is for students to discuss which of the three branches of government is more powerful or more important. They take notes of their research in OneNote, write their debates in Google Docs, and then record their role with Flipgrid.
This is a very cool, fantastic-wonderful lesson that he says would not have helped him to monitor student progress at a glance without GoGuardian.