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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

TOS Review: Lanschool

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    Parents today are faced with unique challenges due to amazing technological advances. Computers can be wonderful educational tools allowing us to have information at our fingertips whenever we need it. But, it can also be a huge time waster and even a danger to our children. That's why it is necessary for companies like Lanschool Technologies to be available to us in our schools and homes.



    Description: Since 1986, Lanschool Technologies has been a provider of classroom management software. Lanschool v. 7.4 Home allows you to teach, monitor, and manage up to three computers in your home. It is a downloadable product that is able to be used on Windows, Mac, and Thin. One computer will act as a "teacher" computer and monitor the other "student" computers. The cost of having Lanschool in your home is $99 and can be used on to monitor up to three computers. Three years of technical support and upgrades are included. Lanschool Home is available for free for teachers, administrators, and tech coordinators, but ONLY with a valid school email address. Hotmail, GMail, AOL, and Yahoo addresses are not accepted.


    Features:

  • Web Limiting- limit, block, or allow specific websites



  • Application Limiting-limit, block, or allow specific applications



  • USB Limiting-block ability to use USB devices



  • Printer Limiting-limit or block print capabilities



  • Keystroke Monitoring-monitor keystrokes on computers



  • Blank Computer Screens-stop computer access by blanking screens



  • Remote Control-help family members by taking control of their mouse



  • Send Messages-send a message to all family computers



  • Question/Chat-students can ask the teacher console questions and chat sessions can be initiated



  • Muting-ability to turn speakers on or off



  • Send and collect files to and from family computers



  • Power Features-shut down, log off, or restart computers



  • Internet History-view all running applications and internet browsing hisory



  • Screen snapshot-take a picture of family member's current screen



  • Anti-tampering controls-prevents tampering with the software



  • Show Screen-shows parents screen to student computers, browse internet together



  • Show Family Member-allows a computer to take over and show other computers what is on their screen



What we liked: The software was quick and easy to download and start using. The console on the "teacher" computer was easy to figure out. The blank screen feature came in very handy when the children went over on their computer time. The first time I used it they were very surprised since they didn't know I could do that. The same reaction of surprise happened when I "took control" of Chelsea's mouse. I liked that not only could you see the screen your child was currently on, you could also see a complete history of every site they had been on. I liked that I could share my screen with the children's screen and they could see exactly what I wanted them too. I also thought that the ability to block internet browsing was a great feature.




Some things to consider: Although you can share files from each computer and show your screen to other computers, this does not work for videos.




My Recommendation: My children do not use the computer unsupervised and are only allowed on a few select sites. When we use the computer for school we use it altogether, so this product would not be a necessity in our homeschool. I think if you are using a curriculum that requires your child to use the computer frequently, or if you have children or teen-agers that use the computer quite a bit this would be a great product for you.




I received a complimentary download of Lanschool Home in exchange for my fair and honest review. I received no other compensation.




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