Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Review: LanSchool

lanschool_logo

LanSchool is a computer monitoring software solution for the classroom—or homeschool—environment.

Key features include:

  • It is reliable and uses significantly less network bandwidth than other solutions.
  • It is complete, no add-ons are required to block the Internet, Applications, Printing and USB drives.
  • It keeps working even when students try to disrupt it. (Think “Fort Knox”!)
  • It costs less and is better supported than any other solution on the market.
  • It supports PCs, Macs and Thin Clients such as NComputing, Terminal Services and Citrix.
  • The “parent” software is loaded onto the parent’s own laptop or desktop computer, and the “student” software is loaded on up to 3 additional computers. These computers must be networked together (see system requirements here) in order for the program to work.

    With LanSchool, the parent or administrator has total control over what their students can/cannot do on their computers at any given time with a click of a mouse. Everything is done entirely by “remote desktop” which means parents can “see” what’s happening from several rooms away without having to physically go to the child’s computer.

    Is your child dinking around on their favorite gaming website instead of doing their math? You can “blank out” their screen. (Mmwwa ha ha!!)

    Is your child having an inappropriate conversation with their friend on Facebook? You can block the website. (Wink, wink)

    Do you have a part-time job that requires you to be away from home for a short time, but you still want to be sure your child’s getting their school work done? Simply fire up your laptop and check in.

    ~Our Experience~

    School work – Whether they’re searching for vocabulary word definitions, watching short video clips on astronomy, or researching their favorite person from the Renaissance era, my children use the internet frequently for school. And while we have safeguards in place, you can’t always control everything that pops up or—as in the case of one child—a simple misspelled word can lead to a totally different (ie: inappropriate) website altogether!

    But with LanSchool, I simply went to the website I wanted them to be on, then clicked “view teacher screen”. Voila`! Instantly, they could see everything I was doing and follow along. Amazing!

    This also worked in the reverse when my son needed help with his math program. He simply clicked “ask teacher a question” and BING! I received his message and was able to login to his screen and help him out—all while seated at the kitchen table going over my youngest child’s spelling words. Easy as pie!

    I Spy –Now this is the one area of LanSchool that I can see causing the most uncomfy feelings for some. Because LanSchool allows you to see exactly what’s happening on your child’s screen at any given moment—and I mean exactly—in real time—complete with keystroke monitoring/recording!—this can be viewed as a total invasion of privacy. However, in our experience this feature has proven its weight in gold.

    Without going into detail, I will say that while my children are generally “good kids”, they’re still just that—kids. They’re human and therefore prone to mistakes. (And because they’re half me and half their father, they’re also smart, sneaky, and love finding ways to get around certain rules. Ahem!) LanSchool brought a few things into sharp focus that we had no clue about, which I’m extremely grateful for.

    Do I consider this an invasion of privacy? Absolutely not. The way I see it, it’s my job as their mother to protect them from certain things—including themselves—until they’re mature enough to handle things on their own. I personally feel that LanSchool is about as “intrusive” to a child’s privacy as a baby monitor. Some things are just necessary for their protection. I also feel that and privacy, like respect, is earned. If I find that my child’s been engaging in behavior that goes against the family rules, there will be consequences. Including closer monitoring and restricted activity. Period.

    ~My Opinion~

    I can honestly say that LanSchool is hands-down one of—if not the best computer monitoring software available today. It’s simple to set up, easy to use, and provides solid reliability backed with awesome customer support.

    Even if your child is completely trustworthy and avoids walking on the wild side, LanSchool would still prove to be a valuable tool for the busy “computer-based” family. I highly recommend it and award it two thumbs up!

    The LanSchool Home License costs $99 and is good for 3 years. (Not too shabby!) A guided tour of the product can be found here.

    *Disclosure: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a free license to LanSchool for the purposes of this review. No additional compensation was provided and the thoughts/views expressed in this review are my own.*

    No comments:

    LinkWithin

    Related Posts with Thumbnails