Being a technology company with a focus on education is a difficult place to be in. With the proliferation of new tools online, information coming faster than ever through social media, and children growing up in a digital society, it’s a wonder our heads stay attached. Still, we are just over 20 years into the popularization of the Internet as we know it today. Information, entertainment, and an endless supply of connections are available at the click of a button -- or now a casual comment to Siri or Alexa. Amongst a month dominated by a multitude of important events is Safer Internet Day with a theme of, “Be the Change: Unite for a better Internet.” And what a time for that!
It would be too easy to take a charge like “Be the Change” as a chance to draw more attention to GoGuardian. We already get incredible highlights from users on how our products function and the problems they solve for in schools. The charge seems to be about not what an organization can sell, but rather what it can do to facilitate teachers, administration and parents on the front lines to shape and improve young lives. As a company, we’ve made an effort to get connected with leaders from all walks of education, and decided to take it one step further.
In order to better understand how they were impacting education, and to understand how GoGuardian helped them to get closer to those goals, we had to allow them to do two things: speak and be heard. We had the privilege to hear it directly from high school seniors owning their future at Fort Sam Houston ISD; We were able to bring an entire classroom of young students online, by providing Chromebooks to Mrs. Delgado at LeLand Elementary; We were even able to explore the impacts of tech-enabled classrooms with Todd Nesloney and Brent Clarkson from Texas. These conversations -- and many, many more -- resulted in opening up a larger discourse that was not simply about us or our products, but about the students we’re helping to build a better world for. Each of these experiences were different, but the end results were consistent: everything done was for the benefit of the students that we protect and the schools that we serve.
It would be easy to dismiss so much of our work as not directly contributing to a “safer internet,” but our millions of protected students would disagree. Our mantra this year is to “Be the Change” and that’s what we constantly strive for. By giving a direct voice to our administrators and teachers, we allow the important issues in education to come to us directly from the source. Subsequently, we have been able improve our products, like adding Student-Teacher Chat in Teacher and Student Reporting in Admin. As a company, we’ll be increasing our focus on service projects for schools in our community, and looking for more opportunities to help schools to do more with blended learning, flipped classrooms, and furthering tech adoption in their schools.
While education is our primary focus, we work tirelessly to never lose sight of the fact that GoGuardian has been successful because of the people that work within it. Many of our staff are former educators themselves, while others are parents with children and have a direct stake in the future of education. One of our core values is to “build amazing experiences,” but how can we do that if not for the sake of seeing a better informed and safer society because of it? There can be an immense amount of pressure to start the next great movement or build the perfect tool, but we believe our place is to be a thought leader that provides the support educators need to help their students soar.If we really strive to be more than we are today, then let us stand as an example for all who seek to be something extraordinary. Let us empower students through diversity of thought, look and experiences. We should show students that the world is a big place, with boundless opportunities and ways to achieve their dreams. If we can be a true model for the children of tomorrow, let us hold up a mirror to the the educators and continue to learn from their example. Let us provide a template that encourages exploration and taking chances so the leaders of future can become whatever they want to be.