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Network and Classroom Management Thread, classroom management software required in Technical; Can anyone help advise us on what software would be most suitable? We're a secondary school, with a significant number ...
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    classroom management software required

    Can anyone help advise us on what software would be most suitable?

    We're a secondary school, with a significant number of pupils who like to use the internet to play on games when they should be working.

    We need software on the teacher's PC that automatically connects to the PCs in a room (this could be based on PCs beginning with e.g. "Room10" or it could be an INI file or something), and lets the teacher easily restrict them to NO internet access, or to restrict to just a selection of appropriate websites of the teacher's choice. Obviously, we also require the other standard stuff like ability to blank screens, log off etc. We also want to be able to see the username of the user logged on. A room plan would be nice, but less important if you can see the students names.

    Also for the network manager's PC, we get emails saying e.g. "Can you see what Joe Bloggs is up to?" so we need to be able to connect to any PC in the school easily.

    We used to have NetSupport but it was unreliable. Blocking internet access sometimes didn't work and we don't know why. Also, pupils also got round it completely by rebooting their PCs! So a teacher would blank all PCs to talk to the whole class but someone would re-boot and start playing on games! Unless the teacher pressed refresh, then the rebooted PC would not be picked up. And refreshing would take ages. And it didn't show the username of who was logged onto the PC (you could ask pupils to enter their names using a log on option but they could type anything into that).

    I downloaded a demo of iTALC but it doesn't appear to limit internet access.

    I also looked at a school that uses SycronEyes but it appears to be quite limited and is of little use to a network manager. It only connects to a specific list of PCs and you can't easily connect to a PC just by knowing it's name or who is logged on. The school that used SyncronEyes told me they were not impressed with it and recommended something they saw at another school called Study Skills 100 Tutor but I searched the web and couldn't find it!

    I have looked at Classroom Management Software | LanSchool and AB Tutor Control - remote monitoring software for the classroom, office and home and they look good, can anyone say if they'll do what we want?

    We have around 450 workstations, and we'll need the tutor program on about 10 teachers PCs.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
    Last edited by L.Kay; 17th November 2008 at 11:34 PM.

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    Although I have never used it, AB Tutor Control has been highly spoken of by several people I know. There are some screen shots of it here.

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    L.Kay (18th November 2008)

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    There's always the other two alternatives... better classroom management (the teachers wouldn't put up with them playing cards in the back of a history class - it's the same thing!) or use a content filter like SmoothWall to prevent access to 'time wasting' sites.

    Due to budget restrictions we don't currently use NetSupport but in the past when I have used it, pupils rebooting computers was dealt with through the school's normal disciplinary procedures.

    There is only a certain amount that technology can do... sometimes policy is the best way to deal with things.

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    We have used Impero for two years + ( Impero - Network Computer Monitoring and Classroom Management Software ) & would recommend you take a look. You can download & trial it for free. It should do most of what you want plus some other extras thrown in. It's a good admin tool for ICT support staff when you want to push out changes across a whole suite of PCs too.

    The development team are approachable & responsive to ideas about enhancements & they are pretty quick with bug fixes. The product is still very active in its development cycle, so updates come thick & fast & sometimes with the occasional bug... There is an active user forum available for self-help & communication with the developers too.

    Staff seem to like it, the user interface is relatively teacher friendly too. There's a new version (V3) scheduled for next year although the timeline for updates often slips.

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    L.Kay (18th November 2008)

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    We use AB Tutor and love it - dunno where yuo are but yuo're welcome to come and have a look if you're anywhere near (Northants)

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    KWestos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post
    We have used Impero for two years + ( Impero - Network Computer Monitoring and Classroom Management Software ) & would recommend you take a look. You can download & trial it for free. It should do most of what you want plus some other extras thrown in. It's a good admin tool for ICT support staff when you want to push out changes across a whole suite of PCs too.

    The development team are approachable & responsive to ideas about enhancements & they are pretty quick with bug fixes. The product is still very active in its development cycle, so updates come thick & fast & sometimes with the occasional bug... There is an active user forum available for self-help & communication with the developers too.

    Staff seem to like it, the user interface is relatively teacher friendly too. There's a new version (V3) scheduled for next year although the timeline for updates often slips.
    Echo this, it's a great piece of software!

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    Jamman960's Avatar
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    We also use AB Tutor and I've seen it implimented in many schools, the licensing structure is very good - you pay for the control licences and can install the client on as many workstations as you like.

    One thing that bugs me is that all of the control workstations are entirely un-linked. You have to create the policys/groups on each one although there may be a way to import the configs.

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    L.Kay (18th November 2008)

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    treetops's Avatar
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    We use RM Tutor 3 here but there is a lot more to it that initially described by RM, there appear to be 6 packages in total:

    RM Tutor 3 (itself - Tutor)
    RM Tutor 3 Student (derived from an RM tech article)
    RM Tutor 3 location link (all stations)
    RM Tutor 3 secure client (to be installed on sensitive machines like teaching machine)
    RM Tutor Enhancements 1 (all stations)
    RM Tutor 3 browse control (all stations)

    However, that said, it does let teachers lock all machines, display something (like their screen) on all machines, lock down internet, only allow certain sites, remote control.

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    L.Kay (18th November 2008)

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    meastaugh1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamman960 View Post
    One thing that bugs me is that all of the control workstations are entirely un-linked. You have to create the policys/groups on each one although there may be a way to import the configs.
    No they're not and no you don't. This data is stored in abcontrol.dat which by default is created in the abcontrol program files folder. You can copy this file to a network share, then append the following to your ABTC shortcuts: -p "P:\Abcontrol" where p:\abcontrol is the location of abcontrol.dat.

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    MGSTech's Avatar
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    Another vote for Impero, awsome software!

    Steve

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    Impero all the way!

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    NetSupport Manager here, and it has the added benefit of giving you NetSupport School for free as the staff front end!
    As for Impero, it should be good. I got to give them a whole raft of features at the last BETT show! As a management tool it does take some beating.

    NetSupport Manager v10: The latest evolution in remote PC Support and Desktop Management

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    iTalc

    iTALC

    They have improved iTalc. This is used in many Southern Illinois K-12 schools.

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    Thanks for the responses! We've ruled out LanSchool after trying it out and also I note no-one here recommended it.

    So that leaves AB Tutor and Impero. We've requested a trial of both and hopefully we'll get round trying them out by the end of the week.

    We use AB Tutor and love it - dunno where yuo are but yuo're welcome to come and have a look if you're anywhere near (Northants)
    A very kind offer, but we're in Yorkshire! Thanks anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by meastaugh1 View Post
    No they're not and no you don't. This data is stored in abcontrol.dat which by default is created in the abcontrol program files folder. You can copy this file to a network share, then append the following to your ABTC shortcuts: -p "P:\Abcontrol" where p:\abcontrol is the location of abcontrol.dat.
    I've not yet tested it out yet, but this sounds interesting, can you tell me how easy is it to specify which machines connect to which controller? e.g. we would want the teachers PC in IT Room 1 to connect to all the PCs in that room - do we put a list of all the PCs in that room into the abcontrol file?

    And if I want to connect to a specific PC in a room to fix a problem with that PC, is that easy to specify as a one-off?

    e.g. in our version of NetSupport it worked by having 2 modes: the one for teachers is where it connects to all PCs beginning with a certain value (e.g. 'Room1' as all PCs in Room 1 would be named something like Room1-PC1 and so on) but for network admins you could connect to a specific list and you could add/delete from that list at any time.

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