CrossTec Corp.'s NetOp School


Located in the heart of the high-tech Washington, D.C., corridor, Forest Park High School is Prince William County's first school to specialize in information technology. Forest Park offers students a traditional academic degree, along with a unique and competitive information technology program with more than 700 of its 2,400 students enrolled. Open to qualified students, the IT program offers an academy setting for standard and advanced certifications in computer networking, digital media and graphics, advanced math and programming.

Forest Park has forged a number of business partnerships with companies such as Microsoft, Gateway, Carnegie Learning, the U.S. Department of Defense and CrossTec Corp. The purpose of these high-tech partnerships is to influence our curriculum and approach to instruction. Knowing where technology is headed helps us understand how to prepare our teachers and their training, create up-to-date student internships and influence how we use technology in our school. Successful use of technology in the classroom is a precept at Forest Park, and one software program we use to ensure that success is CrossTec's NetOp School.

At the high school level, particularly at a high-tech school like ours, the classroom is where the torture test of teens and teachers determines if the software will survive and add real value to the learning process. Overall, we found that NetOp software helped us in three areas with our networks: instruction, classroom productivity and supervision.

Getting started with the software program was quite simple, and CrossTec even offers free tech support to those who need it. Teachers were immediately drawn to the program's "Attention" button, which freezes all of the computers in a classroom with a single click. The ability to broadcast any screen anywhere was also an instant hit among teachers. Viewing all the student screens at a glance provided feedback for the teachers to keep students on task and temptations to a minimum.

Learn and Serve

Brian Hackett, a social studies instructor at Forest Park High School, is the director of the school's Learn and Serve Program, which focuses on the integration of education and technology. The program also makes it a primary goal to address a technology-based approach to community service. One of these projects involves our teenagers tutoring senior citizens on computers. With NetOp School, the students are able to teach through visual instructions on each computer screen. Now, the seniors are able to track the mouse movements on their individual screens and make requests for assistance that can be addressed by the students.

In addition, our students have used NetOp School to teach elementary and middle school students. We are also excited about the progress that has been made using NetOp School with our special education students. The software provides student volunteers with a tool that has helped to educate all of the community's members. Thus, making the program a valuable asset in reaching our primary mission with the Learn and Serve Program.

See below for more examples of how Forest Park educators use NetOp School.

Final Thoughts

As the IT coordinator at Forest Park, staff development is a big issue for me. We are a pilot school for Blackboard e-learning software, and all of our instructors must be trained to use the program. NetOp School greatly increases my time-on-task and decreases the length of the training sessions, much to the delight of the staff.

Chuck Drake, Director of IT
Forest Park High School

Contact Information

CrossTec Corp.
Boca Raton, FL
(800) 675-0729

More Examples of how Forest Park educators use NetOp School:

Carolyn Beever - IT Computer Graphics Instructor. When NetOp School was first introduced in my lab, I felt that the software's main purpose would be security - allowing me to watch what students were doing on the computers, especially those students who do not face the center of the lab. But I was very wrong, and the program has become an indispensable part of my instruction. Now, I can demonstrate a technique to a class while they sit at their own computers. This gives students a much more personal interaction, and they pay far more attention to the instruction then when I'm using an LCD projector. Also, with NetOp School I can transfer graphics files between computers. And rather than copying worksheets for students, I can simply send the worksheet to their computers for them to access, complete and print on their own computers. They can also have me correct or grade the worksheet from my computer - saving the department the cost of paper and ink cartridges.

When students need help on a project I can demonstrate for one student how to accomplish the technique or I can remote control their computer from my PC. This ability to work from my computer is far more productive timewise, and is actually less intrusive to the student than having them come to my computer or having me take over their mouse. Using the message ability of NetOp, I can signal to a student when he or she is wasting time without announcing it to the whole class. I simply flash them a message and a student realizes that I know they are off task. These are just a few of the many ways NetOp School has increased my classroom's productivity and student learning. The software is not just a security and supervisory tool; it is a tool for teaching and learning.

Barbara McLaulin - Library Media Specialist. With the layout of the computers in the library and in the English/social studies lab, it is difficult to teach a lesson and have the students fully involved in the instruction. Problems also arise when students are working either collaboratively or individually. Giving demonstrations without being able to monitor students gives them opportunities to become disengaged. I teach a unit on Microsoft PowerPoint in collaboration with the social studies teachers. Without NetOp School I felt I was in a static demonstration mode tethered to an LCD projector. The students were either focused on their computers instead of on the lesson or in need of immediate hands-on reinforcement. The result was very unproductive and frustrating, both for the students and for me.

With NetOp School, I'm able to fully integrate instruction and maximize lab time. If I notice lots of students struggling with a particularly difficult concept, I can break in and demonstrate it again to the entire class. I can share particularly relevant student work as well. If a student is off task, I can lock the computer screen and refocus his or her attention with a "chat." In addition, computer downtime has been minimized since I am able to individually monitor where the students are and what they are doing. And at the end of the session or at the end of the day, I can check all computers from my monitor and power down all the PCs with just a few clicks.

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2003 issue of THE Journal.