You can open tab(s) on the browser of selected student(s) using the Open Tabs feature. At the same time, you can decide to focus your students on just the new browser tab(s) for a set period of time using the Focused Browsing feature. When a Focused Browsing session is active, students can’t open new tabs, swap to other tabs or browse to new sites or URLs.
These features are described below.
The Open Tabs feature allows you to open tab(s) on the browser of selected students, selected groups or the whole class, and display specified site(s) and/or URLs. It can open up to 5 sites and/or URLs at the same time.
To open new tabs on your students’ screens:
- Click on the Open Tabs icon . This will open the Open Tabs panel.
- Select your recipients. You can select to send the URLs to 1 or more students, selected groups or your entire class by clicking on the appropriate icons
- Type in the sites and/or URL(s) you want to open on your students’ screens.
- Click the Open Tabs button. Within seconds, the tabs will open in your students browsers.
Starting a Focused Browsing session
At the same time as you open tabs for your students, you can also focus your students on the specified sites or URLs for a set period of time. When a Focused Browsing session is active, students can’t open new tabs, swap to other tabs or browse to new sites or URLs. This helps them to work in a controlled environment (eg. timed exercise) or remove the potential distraction of site browsing.
The Focused Browsing feature options are accessed via the circular icon shown below:
To focus your students’ browsing activity:
a. Click on the Open Tabs icon . This will open the Open Tabs panel.
b. Select the student(s), groups or your entire class you want to launch Focused Browsing sessions for
c. Click on the focused browsing icon . This will open the Focused Browsing sub-menu.
Note: If the focused browsing icon is not visible, your school has switched this feature off. In this case, the remainder of this document can be skipped (as it all pertains to focused browsing).
d. By default, Highlights pre-selects Focused Browsing for an entire site, however, you can choose to focus students’ Focused Browsing activity on specific pages within a site. To do this, select ‘Limit browsing to only these pages’.
e. Set the time period for your dedicated browsing session by clicking on the clock icon
f. Type or copy the URLs you want to use for your Focused Browsing activity. You can include up to 5 URLs at the same time. As you start typing your desired URL, a list of the most recent URLs previously launched will offer you the ability to select your URL from the autocomplete drop down list.
g. Optionally, check the “Restore tabs after release”. Focused browsing close all other tabs currently opened on your student’s browser. If the “Restore tabs after release” option is checked, then after the focused time period has finished, each student’s closed tabs are restored automatically.
h. Click on the Open Tabs button. A message notification will appear on your screen to remind you that your action will close all other tabs currently opened on your student’s browser:
i. If you want to cancel, click the Cancel Browser Lock button. Otherwise, the focused browsing activity will start within seconds for the selected student.
Focused Browsing through login pages
Identifying existing Focused Browsing sessions
You can easily identify when you have Focused Browsing activity for students as the Focused Browsing icon will be displayed:
- Next to the Open Tabs icon on top of your menu panel
- Next to each student/group name in the recipient selection drop down
- Next to each Focused Browsing activity launched in the Open Tabs drop down panel
- In the student panel of all students engaged in Focused Browsing activities
Stopping existing Focused Browsing sessions
If you need to stop a Focused Browsing session before the expiry of the set period, you can do this by selecting the session required and clicking on the "Close Tabs" button or clicking on the Focused Browsing icon for that specific session:
- Clicking on the "Close Tabs" button, closes the focused browsing tabs in the student browsers and allows them to start navigating to other sites and URLs
- Clicking on the Focused Browsing icon, allows the students to start navigating to other sites and URLs (but does not close any tabs).
If you need to stop all previously set Focused Browsing sessions (eg. at the beginning or at the end of a class), you can do so by clicking on the ‘Release Tabs’
Only one Focused Browsing session per student
If a student already has a Focused Browsing session in progress, the Focused Browsing icon will be displayed by their name on the Open Tabs drop down list. You can not start a new Focused Browsing session unless you stop the current session (or the current session expires).
Student experience of Focused Browsing
When a Focused Browsing session starts, students receive a pop up message warning them that a focused browsing session is about to start and asking them to save their work. If they are ready, students can accelerate the countdown by clicking on the ‘Start now’ button.
If the student tries to open another browser page, he or she will be prevented from doing this until the end of the Focused Browsing session and will see the following message on the blocked page:
When the Focused Browsing session has expired, students will receive a pop up notification:
Focused Browsing with Google Gmail, Drive and Docs
If you want to focus your students on any of the Google tools Gmail, Drive and Docs tools, we recommend you:
- Open the Focused Browsing dialog
- Check the "Limit browsing to anywhere in these site(s)" option
- Enter the website https://mail.google.com
- Enter the website https://drive.google.com
- Enter the website https://docs.google.com
- Click on the "Open Tabs" buttons to start the Focused Browsing session.
- We recommend you specify all three websites. This gives a better user experience for students who are not logged in and are redirected by Google to a login page
- The "https://" prefix is required. If you forget it, Google will redirect your students from say http://mail.google.com to https://mail.google.com and this will fail.