Classroom Management | News

NetSupport School 11 Expands Assessment, Gets Google Chrome OS Support

NetSupport has released a major update to NetSupport School, the company's classroom monitoring and management suite. Version 11 is the first full-version upgrade in four years and incorporates more than 200 new features and improvements, including support for Google Chrome OS and Windows 8, new assessment features, and a tablet version for Teachers.

NetSupport's tools allow educators and administrators to monitor and control individual computers in classroom and remote environments. With NetSupport School, teachers can also conduct polls in the classroom and share results on the fly, along with record keyboard, mouse, and screen activity. It also provides a Tech Console interface that monitors all computers across the school network in a single view, as well as application and Internet usage on each student PC.

The new version sports an updated interface and includes support for a wider range of devices, namely Chrome OS and Windows 8 (pre-release support). NetSupport has also released a new Tutor Assistant app for iOS and Android tablets and smart phones. Available as free downloads, the new apps are designed to increase the teacher's "mobility around the classroom, enabling them to retain key control and monitoring of all student workstations. [The mobile version] also allows teaching assistants to better support the role of the teacher in monitoring student progress."

The smart phone versions of the app can block and approve Web sites or Internet access on the whole; send students preset messages; lock and unlock student computers, blank their screens, or log them out; approve and block applications; set the password; and restrict printing.

The tablet versions of the app can do all that while also allowing teachers to view student thumbnails, select groups of students, view details, view help request notifications, zoom and sort students, view current applications and sites, and see the number of connected Tutor Assistants.

On the assessment front, version 11 introduces a new Question and Answer module, which is designed to support new assessment methods and track individual and group outcomes and rewards. It also adds support for new assessment types, including first to answer and random selection, and can randomly assign students to teams. According to NetSupport: "The module allows teachers to verbally ask questions to the whole class, gauge student answers and understanding, introduce new questioning styles to the lesson (such as basketball questioning) and develop peer assessment opportunities, as well as track rewards against both the individual and, where appropriate, teams."

The Tech Console has also been updated, adding new policy management and security features, including:

  • Additional policy management tools (such as school-wide restrictions on specific devices and times of day, power management, Windows updates, etc.);
  • Security monitoring;
  • Antivirus status updates;
  • Browsing policies, including the ability to set the Internet Explorer phishing filter;
  • Remote registry editing;
  • Search by name, room, and device;
  • The ability to show wireless signal strength and battery level;
  • An option to exclude teachers' devices from global policies;
  • New inventory tools; and
  • A remote command prompt.

Other new features in NetSupport School 11 include:

  • Improved file and video transfer speeds (up to 10 times faster, according to NetSupport);
  • An updated Digital Student Journal;
  • A new video editor for Record and Replay;
  • An improved Student Toolbar, with assignment tracking, hand raising, and access to external devices;
  • A new class wizard to help teachers adjust settings for their requirements based on room, user ID, or device name;
  • Added support for the Google Chrome browser and Firefox;
  • New help request interface; and
  • Support for ADMX templates in Active Directory.

NetSupport School 11 is available now for Windows XP SP2, Windows 2003 SP2, Windows Vista, 2008, Windows 7, and Windows 8 in most supported languages, including international and North American English, Korean, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Swedish, Finnish, and Portuguese. A 30-day trial is also available. NetSupport Tutor Assistant for iPhone and iPad are available in the iTunes Store. NetSupport Tutor Assistant for Android smart phones and tablets is available through Google Play. Additional details can be found on the NetSupport School site.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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