LanSchool 7.5 review
A rich array of features adorns LanSchool 7.5, which has been designed with the future of tablet and smartphone technology in mind. It’s the most Apple-friendly piece of network management software we’ve seen, by a distance.
It’s got the basics covered too, with the usual blank screen and remote control of mouse, keyboard and audio included – as well as the restriction of external USB drives. Teachers can audio chat with a pupil, listen in and broadcast audio to all or selected pupils.
Thumbnail monitoring allows up to 3,000 pupils to be monitored at once, enough to cope with the intake of the largest schools in the country. It can automatically log all keystrokes, which can be watched in real-time or exported to a CSV file, and teachers are alerted if a pupil types a banned word. And even if an application is minimised it can be added to the allowed or blocked list.
LanSchool’s site-blocking skills have been enhanced to prevent pupils from looking for websites using IP addresses. Similar controls are available to restrict applications and printing, whether local or on the network.
We also like the way LanSchool 7.5 makes use of multicast video playback. It’s very efficient, with the video file sent out once over the network with teachers controlling the playback.
LanSchool’s test builder easily creates true/false, multiple choice and short answer questions that can include graphics. When the test is sent out to pupils, the teacher can monitor how the pupil is progressing, making use of timed questions that can be displayed in a random order, with results exported to an electronic markbook. This aspect of the product would benefit from the ability to add video and audio.
Both the teacher console and the pupils’ software now run on the Apple iPad, iPhone, or iPod, including voting. This transforms each device into a classroom response system, negating the need for additional, expensive standalone voting kit. Finally, the laptop battery monitoring informs the teacher when a pupil’s battery reaches warning or critical status.
LanSchool 7.5 is a competent piece of classroom management software, but it leaps ahead of the rest if you need the ability to monitor battery life and you’ve rolled out Apple devices to your classes.
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