Educational technology tips for teachers, librarians and schools.
EdTech

10 Extensions to Keep Your Classroom Devices Secure

10 Extensions to Keep Your Classroom Devices Secure

By John Mason

Technology is changing the way students learn and teachers instruct, and now, computers and tablets are made available to many children in elementary through high school.

Studies have shown that integrating technology into the classroom helps students learn and stay engaged, while allowing students to collaborate and exchange information in a way not possible before.

While there are a number of benefits to bringing technology into the classroom, there are also several drawbacks. The internet can be a dangerous place, especially for children who, with one wrong click, can be subjected to inappropriate sites and computer viruses.

While many schools have imposed site restrictions, keeping an eye on web activity can be a difficult task for teachers who are also focused on educating. Even if teachers can could completely control what students do and see on the Internet—a near-impossible task—they can’t control what the Internet knows about their students.

Luckily, there are several computer extensions you can use to digitally secure your classroom and keep your students safe. Find the ones you need below.

More: The Educator’s Guide to Digital Security

Webutation

Webutation is a fast and easy way to determine which sites students should avoid. A shield in the top right corner of the screen will be green, yellow, or red, with a page rating from 0-100. If your students find themselves on an especially risky site that slipped through the school’s online restrictions, a message will pop up recommending that they leave the site. Webutation can also block adult sites, among others regarded as “bad.”

This system is so easy that students of all ages can use it. Everyone knows that green means “go,” so your student can proceed their search as long as they see a green shield in the corner. Build this into your classroom technology rules so students remember the importance of the green shield.

Simple Blocker

Simple Blocker has a built-in tool to increase productivity while simultaneously providing security. It can block access to social media, adult material, and suspicious sites and uses a timer to grants access back to a distractive site. This is useful when students have a computer assignment and you want to make sure they’re not playing games or browsing online.

Unshorten.link

The purpose of Unshorten.link is to literally unshorten links so students know what they’re clicking on. Many URLs are condensed, leaving out the endpoint of a link. This means your students could click a link and accidentally visit a virus-infected site or download malware.

Using this Chrome Extension, all shortened links will be screened. Additionally, users will be taken to a filter page or shown a screenshot of the website before clicking through.

More: 6 Useful Teacher Tips for File Sharing in the Cloud

No Script Suite Lite 

While JavaScript is essential to the functionality of many websites, it can obscure malicious activity. No Script Suite Lite allows you to choose which sites you trust to run JavaScript. This extension can also be turned on and off as you please. It runs the best when used with another security extension, such as Webuation listed previously.

Vanilla Cookie Manager

This is similar to No Script Suite Lite. However, instead of working with JavaScript, it focuses on cookies. If you’re unfamiliar with cookies, they record data from your PC. They can be useful when auto-filling out a form, but they also track your information. Vanilla Cookie Manager prohibits cookies and saves them on sites that you approve.

VPN Extensions

Virtual private network extensions, like TunnelBear, encrypt information sent between you and a website, keeping your students and their online data safe. VPNs are also great tools that allow you to teach your students about the importance of browsing online securely. The same creators made RememBear, which you can also download to manage passwords.

Avast Online Security

Avast is a combination of some of the Chrome extensions listed above. Instead of focusing deeply on one aspect of online security, it touches on several. Some of its functions include, but aren’t limited to, impeding phishing sites, showing website ratings, and preventing cookies. It’s a fast and easy way for you to provide your students with multiple forms of digital security in the classroom.

Trustwave SecureBrowsing

SecureBrowsing is just that, safely surfing the Internet. It immediately notifies you of any threats and swiftly blocks links that aren’t secure. All you have to do is right-click a link, image, or file and Secure Browsing is ready to work. Since this isn’t a passive extension (i.e. you have to right click and select it), it is a good option for students that have been introduced to the topic of browsing securely.

More: 10 Student-Friendly Websites to Encourage Creative Thinking

HTTPS Everywhere

“Https” is the start of many website URLs. It differs from “http” in that the “s” on the end stands for “secure.” HTTPS Everywhere lives up to its name by replacing many websites with their more secure counterparts. This means that your students are offered more protection when they visit a site that uses personal information.

uMatrix 

This extension is especially relevant when students are surfing the Internet. It can block scripts and iframes, but more importantly it can block ads. Children are already subject to advertising, but uMatrix can shield that intake—at least while they’re on the computer. Additionally, it allows you to view the backend of the website and any data it’s requesting.

Keep Your Students Safe

The internet can be a rewarding tool that helps students learn—but online threats can also pose a danger. Use the extensions above to keep your students, and their devices, safe.

Pin It!

10 Extensions to Keep Your Classroom Devices Secure

WRforSchools
View Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. Nick Hudson

    September 26, 2018 at 6:52 am

    Free extensions collects user information to forward it to third parties. I use PureVPN to secure 5 of my devices simultaneously.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

EdTech

More in EdTech

learning retention

10 Awesome Apps to Improve Learning Retention

Ethan MillerOctober 16, 2018

10 Undeniable Reasons to Switch to Digital Quizzes

Megan Ray NicholsSeptember 4, 2018

8 Awesome Websites for Creating Video Lessons

Andrew HernandezAugust 14, 2018
8 Engaging Classroom Tools to Test This Summer

8 Engaging Classroom Tools to Test This Summer

Dominic GibsonJuly 24, 2018
teach students to love science

10 Awesome Tech Tools That Teach Students to Love Science

Megan Ray NicholsJuly 23, 2018
take your teaching to the next level

10 Tech Tools to Level-Up Your Teaching

Connor GreeneJuly 2, 2018
More in EdTech, Featured
digital notes
8 Best Tools to Share Lesson Notes Digitally

By Anja Zlatović Good news, teachers! We can now use students’ constant online presence to our own advantage, in this case,...

Close