Using Share Links, Guided Browsing and Freeze Tabs Follow
Share Links is a fantastic feature for sharing URLs to students within your class. You can also choose to focus your students on the newly opened browser tabs for a set period of time using the Guide browsing feature, or filter their internet access to block them from accessing specific sites. Sharing links and Guided browsing sessions can now be scheduled to open at a set date and time, allowing you to set up digital lessons ahead of time and maximize your time on task with students.
When a Focused session is active, students can’t open new tabs, swap to other tabs or browse to new sites or URLs. Filter session blocks the students from accessing the page listed by the teacher for the duration of time. Focused and Filtered sessions cannot be activated for the same student at the same time.
In this article
- Starting a guided browsing session
- Focus sessions through login pages
- Guide browsing templates
- Identifying existing guided browsing sessions
- Ending a guided browsing session
- Focus sessions and Google Workspace: Gmail, Drive and Docs
- The student experience of focus sessions
- Editing a guided browsing session after it begins
Schedule guided sessions
- Scheduling a guided browsing session
- Viewing your scheduled sessions
- Editing your scheduled session
- Copying your previous scheduled sessions
The Share links feature allows you to open websites or web pages on the browsers of selected students, groups or the whole class. It can open up to 10 links at the same time.
To open new website tabs on your students’ screens:
- Click the Share Links button at the top of your screen.
- Enter the website URL(s) you want to open on your students’ screens.
Note: If a login is required, we recommend using the https:// prefix. If you forget it, for example, Google will try to redirect your students from http://mail.google.com to https://mail.google.com, but this will fail if https is not specified. You can access previously-opened URLs by selecting Recent Tabs.
- Select who will be in the session. You can select an individual or multiple students, groups or your entire class.
Click the Share links button at the bottom of the window. Within seconds, the website tabs will open in your students' browsers.
Starting a guided browsing session
To begin a Guided browsing session, click "Guide browsing" on the top right of the Highlights page.
Then, choose which type of Guided Browsing session you would like to set up:
If teachers want to specify just a few websites that students can’t access, they can set up a filter session. Teachers can enter up to 10 websites or web pages to block during the session. Once started, students will be able to access any site other than the specified sites.
To set up the session:
- Type the URLs you want to block and press enter to confirm the link.
- Then type how long you want the session to last, or select from the dropdown.
- Select The Class, Student(s) or Group(s).
- If you want to schedule the session for a future time, switch the toggle to Yes.
If teachers would rather focus students on specific pages, they can use the focus session feature. Teachers can choose up to 10 websites or web pages to open on students’ browsers. Then once initiated, students will only be able to access the specified pages.
Focus sessions are set up similarly to filter sessions, but the URLs you type and enter are the only sites that students will be able to access.
The only additional option for focus sessions is in the third option box:
- To keep the website tabs open at the end of the session, keep the Yes option.
- To restore website tabs students had open before, keep the Yes option.
Note: Only one session can be active at any given time, and a new session will deactivate any existing sessions. For example, let’s say a teacher begins a filter session for one hour, then begins a 15-minute focus session. Once the focus session is complete, the filter session will no longer be in effect, and students will be able to access any sites that may have been blocked.
Focus sessions through login pages
Focus sessions work best with websites and web pages that can be visited directly — versus private sites and pages that require a login. For example, you can’t access your Gmail account without logging in to Google first.
Some private sites redirect the student through multiple pages before arriving at the desired site, and focus sessions don't currently handle these complex cases.
For example, if a teacher wants to focus her students on a private McGraw Hill resource, then the students would need to log in to the McGraw Hill site first.
For example, McGraw Hill resources are located at catalog.mcgraw-hill.com, but the login page is a different URL, connected.mcgraw-hill.com.
The teacher has the option of asking students to first log in to McGraw Hill before focusing them on catalog.mcgraw-hill.com. But if the teacher knows the login URL, we recommend entering both URLs in the same session.
Follow these steps to enter both URLs:
- Set up a focus session.
- Type all URLs required for browsing and logging in, ie: catalog.mcgraw-hill.com and https://connected.mcgraw-hill.com in this example.
- Follow the rest of the steps to start the session.
This will open two tabs in each student browser - one for each URL. Once the student logs in, they can click on an ebook to view it.
Note: In this example, there is no way to force the student to select a specific book — but Highlights will show the book each student selected. If a student chooses a different book from the rest of the class, the Activity Viewer will show this in the Unique Activity panel.
We recommend teachers asking students to sign into private URLs before initiating a Focused session that requires a login, but they can specify all necessary URLs if they are known.
Guide Browsing templates
Within the Guide browsing feature, teachers are able to create focus or filter session templates, which can be saved and reused when needed.
Creating a new Template
- From the Highlights tab of any Hāpara class, click Guide Browsing
- Choose to either Set up a Focus session or Setup a Filter session
- Once you add your session details, click Save as a template on the bottom left-hand side.
How to delete Guide browsing templates
- From the Highlights tab of any Hāpara class, click Guide browsing
- Next to the template you'd like to delete, click the drop-down menu.
- Then select Delete template
- Click Delete to confirm you would like to delete the template.
Note: Deleted templates cannot be recovered, so please exercise caution when deleting templates!
Identifying existing guided browsing sessions
When a guided browsing session is active, you can easily see it at the top of your page in the aqua-colored bar.
To see which students are in a focus or filter session, click Review.
Also, when you set up additional guided browsing sessions and click Student(s), you’ll be able to see if a student is already in another session.
If a student already has a guided browsing session in progress, next to their name it will say: (active in a session).
Note: You cannot start a new guided browsing session unless you stop the current session (or the current session expires). Each student can only belong to ONE guided browsing session at a time.
Ending a guided browsing session
If you need to stop a guided browsing session before the expiration of the set period:
From the aqua-colored Active guided session bar, click Release all.
Or if you have multiple guided browsing sessions running and only want to end one:
- Click Review.
- Then click on the End Session button for that session.
For a focus session, you can then choose to keep focused links open for students or close them. Keeping the links open will allow students to continue working on these sites, but they can also open new tabs and navigate to new pages.
Clicking on the Guide browsing icon in individual student panels also gives you the option to release select students.
Focus sessions with Google Workspace: Gmail, Drive and Docs
To focus students on any of the Google tools, follow these steps:
- Click Guide browsing.
- Select Set up a Focus session.
- Enter the website https://mail.google.com.
- Enter the website https://drive.google.com.
- Enter the website https://docs.google.com.
- Add the other session details.
- Click the Start Session button.
Note: We recommend entering all three websites. This is better for students who are not logged in and are redirected by Google to a login page.
The student experience of guided browsing sessions
When a teacher initiates a guided browsing session, students receive a pop-up message letting them know their browsing will be limited. It will also show a countdown to let them know when the guided browsing session will begin.
If a teacher starts a guided browsing session, and a few minutes later a student arrives to class, when the student logs into their school account, they will be automatically added to the existing session.
If students attempt to navigate away from a focus session or to a page blocked in a filter session, they will receive a message in that window letting them know their browsing is being guided by their teacher.
When the guided browsing session has expired, students will receive a pop-up notification:
Editing Guided sessions after they've begun
If you need to make changes to a guided browsing session after it's started:
Click Review in the aqua-colored bar at the top of Highlights.
To add students to a filter or focus session:
- Check that the student list is selected at the top.
- Type in the students' email addresses in the text box.
- Then click Add student.
To add links to a filter or focus session:
- Select the links list.
- Type the URL in the text box at the bottom.
- Then click Add link.
For focus sessions, you can also edit what happens at the end of the session.
Scheduling guided browsing sessions
You can now set up guided browsing sessions in advance. Have an online quiz planned? You’ll be able to schedule a session to open the website automatically at the start of class, giving students more time to work. Making sub plans? Schedule website tabs to open so students have everything they need.
To schedule a guided browsing session:
- Toggle to Yes where it asks if you would like to schedule the session for later.
- Select the date you would like it to occur
- Select or manually enter the start time.
- Click Schedule session.
Viewing Scheduled Sessions
A list of scheduled browsing sessions can be found under Schedule at the top of your Highlights page.
- From here, you can give each session a title to make it easier to keep track of.
- Or you can schedule additional sessions.
- You can narrow your view of scheduled sessions to just this week, all upcoming sessions or past sessions.
Editing your Scheduled sessions
You can also edit your scheduled sessions:
- Click Schedule.
- Then click This week or All upcoming sessions.
- Click the Edit this session pencil icon on the right to edit.
Copy past Scheduled Sessions
To copy a previous session:
- Click the Duplicate this session button on the right.
When you do, the normal focus or filter session window will appear with the same settings as the past session, other than the date and time.
- Optionally edit the pre-filled settings.
- Select the date and time.
- Click Schedule session.
Freeze student browser tabs
Another way to guide students as they learn online is to freeze their browsers on the tabs they already have open.
This feature can be useful for a variety of instructional purposes including:
- Creating personalized focus sessions: When each student opens the materials they need for the lesson, freeze those web pages in place.
- Focusing students on assessments from Google Classroom or Workspace: Each student can open their specific assessment document. Then you can freeze on those pages.
- Accommodating login pages and redirects: Sometimes it can be difficult to create focus sessions on websites with login pages or redirects. With the Freeze tabs feature, you can have students log in to the sites they should be working on. Then freeze on those pages.
To freeze students' tabs:
1. Click Freeze tabs in the white menu bar in Highlights.
- In the window that opens, select to freeze browsing across The whole site(s) or limit it to Only the page(s).
- Type how long their tabs should be frozen
- Select whose tabs you would like to freeze: the whole class, specific students or groups of students.
- Then click Start session.
Any students you included in the session will be locked onto the pages they already have open.
While a freeze tabs session is in progress you can use the Share links feature to open additional sites for students.
If students are on sites that they should not be, you can also close those tabs as usual.