Tuesday, October 5, 2010

LanSchool Technologies

Do you do a lot of your homeschooling using computers?  Do you ever wonder what your children are doing online, but hate to hover over their shoulder?  Would you like to help your students resist the temptation to check out popular online sites while they should be doing their schoolwork?  If so, then let me tell you about LanSchool Technologies, and their classroom management software.  This is, in my opinion, a wonderful product, a fabulous solution to all of these situations, and more.

Computer technology affords us wonderful opportunities to access so much information right from home.  As a homeschooling parent, I can really appreciate this.  Answers are instant.  I can set up a virtual field trips, and watch documentaries.  I can use websites to help teach critical thinking, or spelling and math skills.  However, mixed in with this gold mine of information, are other websites that most children find more interesting, and may not be appropriate for them to be visiting.  How as a parent or a teacher do we keep them on task?  LanSchool has taken care of that for us.  The only requirements are that the computers we use be networked together, and be configured with TCP/IP.   PCs, Macs, Citrix, NComputer, even iPads and iPod touch devices are supported. (Mac operating systems should be version 10.4 or higher)  Once everything is linked, a simple internet software download and installation needs to be done on each unit.  The parent computer will use the teacher software, and the rest of the computers will use student software.  Once it is installed and running, the features are amazing.

As the teacher, you will be able to see each of the student monitors as a thumbnail on your screen.  You will have a menu at the top of the screen with all of your controls.  It will look like this.

As they work independently, it is easy to keep an eye on their screens, and what they are doing.  When working as a class, you can make whatever file, picture, video or other presentation that is on your screen appear on each student console; even web browsing. You may also send text messages to the entire class, or to individual students or groups of students. Likewise, the student can send a message to the teacher by way of the computer. There is a control to lock the student keyboard and mouse during presentations.

There are so many well thought out features. For instance, you have the ability to take over the student(s) screen, keyboard and mouse, providing a demonstration in front of their eyes, without having to bend over them and breathe down their neck while providing help.  Also, if one student has done something particularly well, you have the ability to show their screen to the rest of the class.  If, for some reason, a student goes astray, and you see an unrelated screen pop up, you can blank that students console, lock the keyboard and mouse, and send a message of your choosing.  You can mute speakers as well.

That's not all.  It is possible to set up multiple choice exams.  These are administered, scores tabulated, and then saved to your computer in a file.  LanSchool is also always working to keep their software tamperproof so that our bright young students can't find ways to circumvent it.

As far as internet safety concerns.  LanSchool has that covered as well.  On Internet explorer or Firefox, websites can and applications be blocked, the teacher can see browsing histories, (which the student is unable to erase) monitor keystrokes, setup alerts on banned words, browsing can be restricted to certain sites, or can be stopped altogether by the teacher.

The developers also added some more practical features.  Files may be sent and collected between the teacher and students, The teacher can shutdown, logoff and restart all of the computers preventing all nighters on the internet.

If you're interested in learning more about LanSchool Technologies, and this really useful product, you can find their site at http://lanschool.com/ .

Their contact numbers are:

877.370.5546 (Toll Free USA)
240-331-1316 (Fax)

Their mailing address is:

LanSchool Technologies, LLC
770 West 210 South
Orem, Utah 84058 USA

email for sales: sales@lanschool.com
email for service: support@lanschool.com
LanSchool Technologies has been an award winning provider of classroom management software since 1986.  They have partnered with some of the most recognizable names in the computer technology industry in their quest to make easy to use reliable products available to teachers and students.

This software will cost $99.00 for a home use license.  This includes three years of tech support and upgrades.  If you are a public school teacher or IT person and are interested in using this software, you can find pricing information on the website.

This is a super easy way to eliminate distractions during school time.  If needed, it can also monitor and keep children safe while they enjoy the benefits of the internet.  I would definitely recommend this to any family that uses computers on a regular basis.  I'm sure I will use it even more as my boys get older and are allowed to spend more time online.  Quite a few of my other TOS crewmates will also be posting their reviews today.  Many of them do quite a bit more with the internet and will definitely have some great information to share.  If you'd like to read their opinions, please visit the crew website.

I was given free access to this software so that I could use it in our home and provide my honest feedback in exchange.