Friday, October 22, 2010

Review - LanSchool Home Edition

LanSchool Home Edition

One Home License - $99 (includes 3 years tech support and 3 years major upgrade protection)

LanSchool Technologies provided me with a program to install on both my computer (the teacher computer) and the computers of my three boys (student edition). The purpose of the program is to allow me, as the teacher, to connect to their computers to execute various functions. I can see their desktop, control their desktop, lock certain functions like internet, mouse or printer, allow them to see my or each other’s desktop, chat, or even blank their desktop if I want their attention.

When I first started exploring the functions of LanSchool, I immediately thought back to when I ran an academic computer lab at a local college. Boy would I have liked to have this tool then! I know many schools use these types of programs today, and, after getting the chance to work with the program, I can honestly say I see why. However, I wondered, how will I use it at home?

How did I use it then?

Installation was incredibly easy. I was very impressed with how user friendly it was. I installed the program on my computer and the three boys’ laptops in no time. My two younger boys were excited to see everything it enabled me to do from my computer. My oldest, 17, however, didn’t like it at all. He felt like his privacy was being taken away. We came to an agreement that I would only use it to test it for academic reasons and would not violate his personal time. All of my children are aware that I reserve the right to see anything they are doing at any time, but I think this felt a little too invasive, which I understood.

Well, the main function I found helpful was the ability to see their desktops as they worked on their schoolwork. Some of the work we do is computer based. I am able to help Ben with his Algebra and Noah with his Spanish while not having to stand right next to them. I could also peek in to see if they were on task rather than having to come in and stand over their shoulders.

Another helpful function is the chat; I work online, so they can get my attention with chat without having to feel like I’m going to shoo them away to let me finish my work.

I plan to use the program so that we can watch online videos without all three of us having to huddle around one laptop screen. I will be able to share my screen and have all three of us watch from our own laptop. We use a lot of media throughout the school year, and this will be a great advantage.

If you are a family that incorporates a lot of technology into your homeschool, then I can see LanSchool as a helpful addition. This is especially true if you have independent high schoolers who need some monitoring without you “invading” their space all the time to make sure they are on task, or for younger students where the ability to see and even control the computer will help them learn.

To see additional reviews by the Homeschool Crew click here.

** I received this product free of charge from The Old Schoolhouse for review purposes. **

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