Elementary School Tech. Coordinator Explains How LAN Package Eases His Life

Within hours after installing LAN Commander, I felt like an incredible weight had been lifted from my shoulders. In my position as technology coordinator at Hillcrest Professional Development School (preK-5) in Waco, Texas, my main goal is to promote the integration of technology into the curriculum. Unfortunately, however, I spend a tremendous amount of time managing software installation, inventory and completing mundane tasks. But I have now found a new and powerful aide. With LAN Commander from Power On Software, Sherrodsville, Ohio, I believe that I will save the equivalent of 25 working days over the course of a school year. I will be able to spend my time working with teachers rather than interfacing with machines. Simplifies SW Distribution LAN Commander’s software distribution capability is by far my favorite feature. The start of the school year is always a time heavy with installation demands. Now, I can set up just one computer the way I want it and then LAN Commander will duplicate its hard drive onto each of the new machines that arrived during the summer. Additionally, the start of school means installing new software. For instance, I purchased a site license for some new font families. Rather than making the rounds to every computer in the building, I simply selected all of our computers from LAN Commander’s Group menu. The program broadcasts the data to each machine simultaneously, so my desktop Macintosh is not tied up for very long. In this case, 50 computers received their new fonts in just a couple of minutes via our Ethernet network. Another important distribution item for our school is updating our QuickMail addresses and groups. I used LAN Commander to find machines that have QuickMail 3.5. I then put them into a group and distributed the update. "With LAN Commander, I believe that I will save the equivalent of 25 working days over the course of a school year." Some of our machines are running QuickMail 2.5. A LAN Commander query and sort identified this group of machines and I updated them as well. The software installs programs into the same directory on a receiving machine as it appears on the Commander’s machine. Benefits, Large & Small Software distribution is not the only benefit our school receives from using LAN Commander. I use the Synchronize Clocks command once a month to make sure that all of our computers are set to our school’s bell system. This feature also helps avoid the dreaded "1904" date that Macs use when they reset themselves. This is also important to our Accelerated Reader program, which becomes a big headache when students "take tests in 1904." Planning for hardware upgrades is much easier with LAN Commander as well. Now with a few clicks in the Finder’s menu bar, I can collect system information including physical RAM, logical RAM and hard disk space. Sorting by computer model, I can then specify needs on budgets and purchase orders. LAN Commander has many other features that I use less frequently. I can log onto servers, empty the trash, collect files, launch applications, set sound levels and more. In a lab setting, I can freeze students’ screens and/or keyboards to get their attention. Fit His Needs & Budget I have known for several years that I needed a program with the powerful features I’ve described. However, I could not justify the high cost of most of them. LAN Commander’s pricing empowered me with a tool that fit my network and my budget. Now I am able to leave the management parts of my job to my computer while I take care of what is really important to me -- the interpersonal aspects. Mark Benno is Technology Coordinator at Hillcrest PDS in Waco, Texas. E-mail: [email protected]

This article originally appeared in the 11/01/1996 issue of THE Journal.