Some things are just meant to roam free, like chickens in a farmyard, but students in a computer lab? Take a classroom of 45 students, sit them in front of unmonitored computers and what do you get? You might like to think you’ll get a class of attentive students ready to start the lesson. In the real world, you’ve just created a potential freerange social club mixed with an internet café.
That was exactly what was concerning San Angelo ISD, a district of 24 schools located in West Central Texas that serves over 13,000 Pre K-12 students. In 2002, the district began using NetSupport School to monitor usage on its computers. The result was that students quickly turned their focus to instruction rather than their social lives.
NetSupport School is Classroom Management Software that allows teachers to monitor all students from one central screen. It was designed to enhance the teaching process by allowing more one-toone instruction that, in turn, encourages better student participation. Educators monitor each student’s computer and if necessary, take control of that PC or exhibit their own screen onto students’ computers to demonstrate a particular application.
As with any software, simplicity of use is essential. Scott Mitchell is a computer technician in the San Angelo district. “It’s easy enough for anybody to use…the teachers love it,” he said. “All of our experiences have been positive. We started off in 2002 with about 250 licenses and now have over a 1,000.”
Let’s also dispel the traditional view that Classroom Management is just about monitoring student activity. With so many external online temptations this will always be a major focus but it’s important to consider the improvements to instruction that Classroom Management Software delivers by encouraging greater group collaboration and harnessing real-time visual student feedback.
However, those benefits are not limited to the traditional Windows PC environment. With the increasingly common austerity measures, schools are looking to reduce their hardware expenditure, moving towards the Thin / Virtual Client arena, a scenario faced by Luke Reagor, Network Administrator for Stephenville Independent School District.
“We chose NetSupport because it gave us all the features we needed and then some. We can see which user is at each workstation and what they are running... even if they have it hidden on their screen! We can have the teacher and a technician connected to the same workstation at the same time. We can see what students are typing, remotely run applications on a student’s session as that student, enable/ disable USB and CDROM drives, plus it works with our greatly expanding army of NComputing boxes.”
Similarly, The University of St. Thomas based in the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis needed to improve interaction between instructors and students as well as replace an older hardware classroom control system.
“Our decision to switch to an NComputing Virtual Desktop environment has really paid off….what we needed to complement this was a Classroom Management solution that would happily run on this setup,” explained Software Engineer, Saladin Cerimagic.
“NetSupport School has greatly improved the interaction between instructors and students, proving to be particularly useful in the computer science department where instructors need to troubleshoot problems that students encounter in their programming. With NetSupport School’s collaboration tools the class can participate in this process.”
For more information on adding further value to your instructional technology services, visit www.netsupportschool.com to download a fully featured classroom trial license or call 1 888 665 0808.