Recently, Google Hangouts, an instant messaging tool included in the Google Workspace Suite, became Google Chat. While Hangouts has always been available to secondary students, Google Chat is now more readily accessible in the GMail app. As a result, middle school teachers and principals reported that Google Chat was becoming a significant distraction and disruption to learning as students chatted with each other on district iPads during class.
We discussed this concern with our secondary ITAC (Instructional Technology Advisory Committee), and after considering the instructional uses of Google Chat, the challenges of managing the tool in middle school, and alternative communication tools, the committee recommended disabling Google Chat for all secondary students.
Please keep in mind:
- We don’t currently have a way to disable Google Chat just for middle school students, so the tool will be disabled for all secondary students;
- Alternative tools for teacher/student communication include Schoology discussions, email, and Webex (including Webex chat);
- Google Chat will continue to remain available for teachers and staff.
We plan to disable Google Chat this Friday afternoon, Sept. 24.