GAT+ and GAT Shield provide oversight and protection for the children in the school (via a Chrome Extension). These tools work together to help identify the student, the device they are working on and how and when they are using that device.
In the case of GAT Shield, the school can deploy the service to show the parents and guardians an exact copy of the information they gather. This allows the parents and guardians to view the student’s online activity, see what sites they are working on and much more.
If GAT Shield is available to parents it will appear as a color icon on the top right of every web page in the student’s chrome browsing session.
In the screenshot above we highlighted the GAT Shield logo in an orange box.(Orange box is not present in real life use.)
Clicking on the GAT Shield logo will allow parents to see the following information
Entering GAT Shield
After you click on the small GAT Shield icon you can enter the full GAT Shield reporting environment by pressing the large blue button ‘View your full Chrome activity’. This button takes you into the reporting section.From here you can also start tagging a page. Tagging is a special feature of GAT Shield for end users. It lets them mark different, but related pages, with a similar tag. For example if a student is spending a lot of time on different science websites, he or she can tag each site as being ‘Science’. Later in the reporting area of the tool the student, parent or guardian can search for the tag ‘Science’ and find all the Science sites tagged by the student and the time spent on them by the student.None of the logs or reports can be altered by a student. All of the activity is recorded and reported here and back to the school. It can not be erased or interfered with by the student. The parent or guardian is seeing an accurate account of the students time online.
Browsing activity is broken into two sections, an ‘Overview’ based on time, showing the students exact timeline while online and ‘Full Data’ showing a Pie or ‘Doughnut’ chart of all the individual site visits gathered together.
In the Browsing Activity Overview page the parent or guardian will see, for any selected day, the timeline of the student’s entire online activity. This is then broken down into a timeline for every single site visited, showing both when the visit occurred and the duration the visit. The sites are ordered in order of total duration. Some sites may be tagged. For example visits to email will have tags showing if some of those visits were to gmail.com and not just to the school email page. Selecting ‘By tag’ will show the timeline for each of the tagged sites. GAT Shield will tag gmail sites automatically, student, parents or guardians can also tag other sites or collections of sites if they want to use this tracking feature. By default the top 5 sites are shown, but you can extend this to the maximum number of sites visited. You can focus on the full 24 hour day or just when the student was active. You can also search for a site to see if it was visited. In the ‘site’ search you can also look for any tag you might have created, for example ‘Science’ and find all the sites you marked with that tag. You can also select any day in the last few months (the exact length of history depends on the storage available). Finally moving the mouse over the timeline shows exactly the site visited and time under that part of the timeline.
Under ‘Full Data’ you can see all of the site visits gathered into one single doughnut chart. The chart divisions reflect the time spent on each of the sites or site pages. It lets you quickly see where the bulk of the online time is spent. Move your mouse over any slice of the chart to see the detail in terms of site, time and percentage.
Chrome allows extensions from third parties to be installed on the browser. Some of these can ask for a lot of access (GAT Shield requires a lot of permissions to run correctly). GAT Shield details all these extension as well as the permissions they request. Those that ask for a lot of access are highlighted in red. Normally parents and guardians do not have to worry about these extensions as they are tightly controlled by the school, however this part of the tool allows you to see what else is running in the browser.
Chrome allows users to download files to local storage. These files can either come from the school Google Workspace environment or from external web sites. No matter where they come from GAT Shield tracks these downloads and reports them. You can see the original file name and the new local name, the server where the file came from and where it was stored, the date, time and size of the download is also recorded. Parents and Guardians can use this feature in GAT shield to see what students are downloading and if it is appropriate.
GAT Shield shows ‘Search History’ both as a timeline and as a word cloud. The larger the word in the cloud, the more that word was searched for. On the timeline you can also see the search string along with the date and time of the search as well as the page where the search was launched from.
Under ‘Chat History’ it is possible to see all the Google ‘chats’ that the user has had online. For privacy reasons the chat contents is not recorded, however all the participants are visible, along with the time, the chat id and other details.
Environment shows you where Google thinks you are located along with details of the device you are running on. This shows you key technical details the outside world can potentially find out about your environment.
GAT Shield allows both Admins and Users to create page names or page tags. Page names can be used to give a simple descriptive name to any page or sub-page. For example you can track all the time spent in spreadsheets by giving the name ‘Google Spreadsheets’ to the page https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets. You can also name a particular spreadsheet by giving its full path name, right down to the spreadsheet file id, this will allow you to track time spent just on this sheet.
GAT also supports the idea of page ‘Tags’. A tag is something that can be given to a collection of sites. For example you can tag npr.org and cnn.com as ‘news’, then under the first tab ‘Browsing Activity’, when you search for news, you will find all time time you spent on the news sites CNN and NPR.