Wednesday, October 6, 2010

LanSchool Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review a program called Lanschool. It was a very new and exciting program to review. It is designed to use on multiple computers in either a home or classroom setting. With one computer being the "parent/teacher" computer and the others being the "student/child" computers. A home license with 3 years of technical support and updates is $99. You can take a look at their website and see all the various options they have that would work for your home or school.

lanschool_logo.png picture by homeschoolcrew

We are very careful with our kids "screen time" and at their young ages they are very limited on the amount of time and what they can do on the computer. Mostly they use the computer for educational games for very short time periods during the school day. Paul is starting to use the computer for some research as well as writing reports. As they grow and are able to use the computer more we will be in need of some monitoring software. Lanschool fits that bill. Lanschool is not a filtering software to control where your kids can go on the internet. Instead, it is a monitoring software that does the following:

- Use thumbnails to monitor what is happening on all your home computers
- Track the internet history of all your home computers
- Logs every keystroke on all your home computers
- Limit access to programs, the web, applications, USB, printing and so much more on all
your home computers
- Chat with other family members
- Provide help through remote control
- Blank the screens to reduce distraction and gain attention
- Ask questions, take polls, and even create and administer tests that will be graded for you.

All this can be done without going to each individual computer, but by just pulling up Lanschool on your "teacher" computer and looking at all the "student" computers you have. Currently I have mine pulled up and am watching my younger two play a game on the computer in the schoolroom and my oldest is watching a video on George Washington on the computer/tv in the living room. I can just pop over to Lanschool and make sure they are still doing what they are supposed to be doing. The other tool we have used it for is to give warnings on when their computer time is up. My younger ones can't read yet but they do know that when a message pops up then their time is almost up. My oldest loves when I send him a quick word of encouragement of just an "I Love You" while he is working.

Although we did enjoy Lanschool, I don't feel we are the target audience for this software. We used a couple of the features but it can do so much more then what we were able to use it for. I really think that it is designed and works best for older students and/or students who use the computer alot in their schooling. I can see it being a great tool to monitor and help with research as we get in to that more. I also loved the test taking feature and we did use that a couple of times, but more for fun, since we don't do a great deal of testing yet. As a middle school teacher in my former life I can see how this would be great for a classroom setting.

So, head on over to their website and check out what they have to offer. The technical support and customer service is phenomenal and I am sure they will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Don't forget to take a look at reviews from other TOS crew members here.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion of the product. There was no other compensation given for the review.

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