I created a post on my local state listserv and asked this question. But being a Casper school I wanted to ask you guys directly as well.
What do you use to allow your teachers to monitor the computers in their classrooms? The list mentioned LanSchool. But I wanted to see if Casper schools are utilizing Casper Remote in some way? If not it would be nice if Casper would add something for management on the Mac side - like Focus - but with more features like Lan School.
I don't want the teachers to have access to every computer - just the student's who they have in class.
University here, but we have a couple of classrooms setup with Apple Remote Desktop on the instructor station but configured with limits so that the instructor account only has limited abilities to view the computers in that classroom. Essentially it is setup so they can open ARD, but not actually force any changes or push commands. You can do the same multi screen view that it looks like Lan School shows on their website.
Are your devices setup with static IP's?
The issue we have with ARD is the record in ARD doesn't always sync up with the correct IP of the device. But since all of our devices have the same admin user credentials it allows that teacher to see whatever device has that IP since the record hasn't updated to reflect it. Scanning each time helps but isn't 100%.
We've setup ARD and LanSchool for testing. Unfortunately, ARD is too much for our faculty (And isn't logged) and LanSchool has been a bit of an under performer. I haven't installed LanSchool server yet for testing (passing control from class to class has always been an issue in our testing). There is, however, a feature request here on good ol' JAMFnation https://jamfnation.jamfsoftware.com/featureRequest.html?id=1171 that's worth voting up. I'd much rather see this solution.
Not a semester goes by when we don't have a request from one of our Faculty asking for the ability to monitor their students' screens while in the classroom. And, every time, we have to explain (once again, sigh) that this is trying to solve a classroom management problem with a technological solution. We tell them that it signifies a lack of trust between the teacher and the student and that there are better ways to monitor what a student is doing.
They worry about cheating, of course, but any teacher who's been teaching for more than a few years can tell you that cheating reveals itself in many more obvious ways than what might be seen by a teacher during a screen-monitoring session. There are abundant classroom management techniques that are better than screen monitoring. Walk the room. Arrange the desks differently. Disallow the use of computers during certain test-taking. Make students turn off WiFi while they are taking a test (and then you can easily use ARD to see if a machine is responding on a subnet).
Student very very much dislike the Orwellian idea of Big Brother watching what they do, and for good reason. This kind of power dynamic breeds mistrust and abuse by the person with the power. Witness the infamous Lower Merion case where an Administrator (note; not a tech staff person!) was able to use the power of LanRev (now Absolute Manage) to egregiously invade the privacy of a student (yes, a bit of a <bleep>, but still a student) in their 1:1 laptop program.
Many places use this distrust of students as a rationale for locking down the computers in a 1:1 to the point where they are barely useable, or they are used for only a small percent of their actual potential. I've been arguing for many years that it doesn't have to be that way. One of the most important factors in the success of a 1:1 program is the underlying culture of the school where it's being implemented. I've seen well-funded 1:1 programs fail in places where the particular culture or leadership was not a good fit. I've seen underfunded 1:1 programs excel in places where the leadership fosters a culture of honesty, respect, and digital responsibility.
I personally don't believe that a 1:1 program that relies on technical solutions like screen-monitoring will be as successful as a program that encourages higher expectations for its students. Respect and dignity goes a long way (if your school's culture allows it). Good luck.
We just implemented a piece of software that we pushed to all the student laptops in our 1:1 program called Dyknow Monitor. It was a standard package with a simple script ran post-install to configure it.
It's very nice how it works, you can do an import from a student information system to build your classes so teachers classes are already set up in their system. This way the teacher for say English, only sees students in their English at that period. If that makes sense.
We use ARD for remote support and we have a few teachers/building tech folks that use it for lab management. We have one school that uses LanSchool with a fairly large population (around 1,500 devices) and have problems maintaining connections. LanSchool does have a free version available that is just viewing.
We're currently testing Impero Software's solution at another location. Haven't had enough time with it to know if it's any better/worse than what we've seen with LanSchool.
I also want to second @damienbarrett's classroom management comment above. Walk around the room or just simply tell them to turn it off/put the device down. We didn't try to put remote paper monitors in when kids were passing notes back and forth in class. If we're trying to prepare students in a digital age there are going to be distractions, constantly. If I didn't learn time management and discipline, then I would just watch cat videos all day online. Ok, just one more cat video before I call it a day.
I had the same issues with ARD and the computer name and IP address causing issues. I switched all of my groups to Smart Lists in ARD and it has worked great since. The only time I have an issue is when I am reimaging and the machine looses it's name and drops from the ARD Smart List until it restarts and then it automatically shows back up.
Our PC classrooms are using Insight, which is from the same company that makes Deep Freeze: http://www.faronics.com/products/insight/
We did have it installed in our Mac labs at one point, but the teachers didn't seem interested in learning it and setting it up when they're only in the lab for an hour at a time. It works well in a scenario where the same teacher is in the room the entire day though.
@weiss_one We gave it a good fight with Impero, but just couldn't get the classroom creation where it wanted it. The goal was the ability to automatically update class schedules daily so the teacher's classes in Impero would automagically be ready for them based on our enrollment changes.
Had these been static classroom devices and not 1:1, I think the product would have excelled. But keeping up with an ever-changing 1:1 roster was a difficult hurdle for them to overcome at the time. Unfortunately, they couldn't pull that off reliably at the time. We haven't dove back into the product since late 2015, so I'm sure things have changed a bit.
@freddie.cox @weiss_one If you're looking for that functionality (having classes build themselves so teachers don't have to) look into lanschool. We are in a 1:1 enviroment where we have our student records system (infinite campus) pull the student class lists using sql. It then runs the pull as a daily task and saves the files onto the server. From there I have a policy that downloads and places the file on the teacher machine that lanschool pulls the lists from. Here is the presentation I got the idea from.