At first, Ramsey Hootman thought something might be wrong with her son’s school-issued laptop. All of a sudden, most of the browser tabs he’d opened had closed, seemingly of their own accord.
It took a little while to figure out that the culprit was actually a teacher, who’d used a tool called Securly Classroom to view her son’s screen and close out all but two of his tabs—an action that, to both mother and son’s frustration, gunked up an assignment he’d been trying to research.
Remote classroom-management tools like Securly Classroom and its competitors give teachers an expansive, real-time look into what their students are viewing or working on. As Hootman discovered, they also contain a panoply of features, like the ability to freeze a student’s screen, or to call up, block, or limit tabs.
In interviews, some teachers said they use the tools in productive ways rather than to