Van Dyke Public Schools Deploys NetOp Software for Master Control in Classroom

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After two years of working with NetOp School, the Van Dyke Public School System in Michigan has gone public with details about its installation of the software, which lets teachers control and interact with classroom computers.

"I use NetOp School for so many different things," said Kathy Zainea, teacher at Lincoln Middle School. "Everything from displaying the class agenda and monitoring student activity to chatting with students to helping them better understand certain concepts or doing a demonstration using my own system. I even distribute my tests using the software."

The software works by showing student computer activity in a thumbnail display on the instructor's screen, giving the teacher an overview of who is paying attention in class and who is not. The instructor can then send messages to remind students to stay on task, block certain programs, shut down the Internet or freeze the computer altogether.

Using the chat function, students can ask questions both in a public portal, enabling the entire class to view an answer to a common problem, or in a private message to the instructor.

"I can even set up the class into groups and distribute tests or assignments that way," said Zainea. "If a group or individual is lagging behind, I can use the chat function or take over their computer to get them up to speed without the stigma of constantly walking up to their station."

Zainea estimates that about 125 students at Lincoln Middle School use the software each day.

The latest version of the software has added a recording function and "offline" capabilities. The recording function allows the instructor to record activities on a given computer to monitor computer use. The "offline" mode of NetOp School lets teachers take the software home to prepare class materials and lesson plans.

NetOp School, developed by Danish IT company Danware A/S is sold in the United States by the company's subsidiary, NetOp Tech Inc.

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About the author: Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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