Virtual Networked Classroom Software Integrates Access, Support, Remote Control, Conferencing And Presentation Tools
NetOp School 2.5
= breakthrough tool
Software Tool (Win)
NetOp School is computer-based classroom management as well as a monitoring, presentation and support and file management tool. It competes head-to-head with NetSupport School, another very similar tool reviewed in the previous issue of MasterMind Explorer.
NetSupport School - Interactive Management, Support, Monitoring and Demonstration Software for Computer-Based Classrooms
First released in 1997, NetOP School is an award-winning software that has been refined and improved over several years and which is based on proven remote control technology developed for its brother application NetOp Remote Control.
NetOP School provides an impressive array of features and commands that make the work of any computer-based classroom trainer completely transformed. In my personal evaluation, NetOp School, together with Training Tools by Milori and GameShow Pro to be uniquely valuable assets that fully leverage technology potential to make computer-based classrooms significantly more usable, effective, fun to use, and pedagogically sound.
NetOp School enables a computer-based classroom trainer, teacher, or expert-facilitator to significantly improve the student involvement, participation and total learning experience by integrating an impressive array of extremely useful features including:
1) Monitoring of your students PCs while they are working.
Not only so, but you can take advantage of this feature to allow students to "see each other's work" and learn from each other in ways that were not thinkable of before. Very effective!
2) Demo/broadcast any PC to all others.
Showcase an application, have a student show how she tackled a problem or executed a task with her software.
NetOp School allows the trainer also to broadcast a video or animation to all class participants. Formats supported include MPEG, AVI, QuickTime and Flash 'movies'.
3) Send any file (exercise, reading material, URL shortcut, Word file, etc.) to any selected or to all of the students in your classroom. Choose landing directory and memorize files to be distributed for maximum ease of use. Giving an exercise file now takes a click of a button.
4) Collecting of files.
NetOP School allows automatic collection of any specified file from the students computers from specific directories of your own choice allowing easy management of exercise, in-class assignments or tests.
5) Remote Control.
NetOp School provides facility to lock students PCs keyboard and mouse while allowing full control of their PC from the trainer's PC. Create monitored chat rooms or allow students to send you private questions via an instant message button located on student PC. Mentoring, technical support, one-on-one instruction and helpdesk tasks are greatly facilitated by this tool.
6) Messaging, text chat, audio chat.
All communication channels can be engaged with NetOp School from text chat, private or public to audio chat for students and classrooms that are not held in the same physical space.
Chat facilities allow on-line conferencing with two or more participants. Create a monitored online discussion forum in written form. Save Chat dialogs.
7) Projector replacement.
Replaces and does away with traditional and expensive computer and video projectors. Substitute to expensive computer and video projectors. NetOp School can completely take over the task normally held by classroom projectors by allowing the trainer to "broadcast" its PC actions to all classroom participants, whether they are in the same physical classroom or not. No darkening of the room is necessary as with overhead, or video- projector sessions.
8) Peer learning and group work activities.
NetOp School includes new collaboration features allowing for independent work groups to be created within a class using the "Breakout Session" button. Teachers can also assign group leaders to each work group, while still retaining full Teacher control.
9) Easy installation.
No server installation necessary. No need to reboot your PC after installation. With NetOp School it is also possible to execute a remote installation of pre- configured Student modules (Windows XP/2000/NT) from your own PC.
10) Call to attention!
You can call students to full attention by freezing your students mice and keyboards with a single button. You can further emphasize your call for attention by having NetOp School display a selected text message, an image or a Web page of your choice.
11) Security and access restrictions.
Limit access to student PCs - Authorized students can limit a teacher's access to their PC to prevent unauthorised use. For example this would be useful in a corporate environment where supervisors need to attend training but require local PC security. It is also possible to hide completely the NetOP School Student module from students' PCs for completely "transparent" monitoring of their activities.
12) Access management.
Students can log into a NetOp School controlled classroom, in a variety of ways depending on the preferred choice of the trainer. NetOp School for example can automatically connect student computers to a pre-determined class upon PC startup (if desired). Alternatively ht etrainer may allow students to look for classes listed locally or on a public server. Last but not least NetOp School can be setup in a way that allows students be visible for trainers even if they are not logged in or attending anyone class. In this case trainers can send a just-in-time message to invite students into their class. Finally the Auto-join feature allows the trainer to automatically include students in ongoing activities if they arrive into the class late (what a lifesaver!).
13) Remote setup control.
It is possible to logoff, shutdown or restart anyone or all connected computers with a single command. Student settings can be modified remotely and thereafter the Student module can be remotely re-initialized providing immediate effect for the changes made.
14) File Management.
Powerful split-screen file manager, copy, move, clone, synchronize files. Integrated bi-directional background file transfer. Transfers individual files or entire directory structures. Drag and drop mode of operation supported.
15) Annotation tools.
NetOP School provides a basic set of marking and annotation tools that can be utilized during a demo or presentation to highlight or emphasize visually elements displayed on the screen.
16) Connectivity within and outside of the organization.
NetOp School can work across a LAN (local area network), an organizational Intranet or also across the Internet, breaking any possible boundary to realize a fully virtual classroom.
NetOp School provides the trainer with a very useful set of classroom Views. They include:
a) Classroom View
In this mode it is possible to create a customized seating plan that reflects your classroom student seating positions. Very useful.
b) Mosaic View
This is my favourite view as it allows the trainer to monitor all students screens as thumbnails.
c) Detail View
In this mode the trainer can view students as a text list for a quick view of who's present.
d) Student Group View
The Student Group View mode allows the trainer to prepare and manage groups for classes in a tree-view. In this mode it is also possible to send messages to available students and invite them to join the class.
To be very frank I have fallen in love with this tool way too early to be completely objective about it. The reason I chose to go with NetOp School rather than NetSupport School, are not so clear-cut and rational, but do represent some important expectations and preferences I, and others like me, may have when working with this type of tools.
On the surface in fact, it would appear that NetSupport School is a more elegantly designed tool, as its interface is certainly more usable, user-friendly and uncluttered than the one offered by NetOp.
Truth is I was attracted mostly by a unique feature available on NetOp School, and one which would certainly stimulate the appetite of many other classroom trainers like me. It is called "Mosaic View", which as I have described above, allows me to see all of the monitors of my classroom students at once on my screen (I have an 8 PC classroom). Not only I can see the monitors, but I can obviously see what is happening on each one of them, and I can select the size at which all of these monitors are displayed on my screen. Absolutely great.
My overall impression is that I would not give anymore a session, workshop or computer class without a tool like this.
The amount of work that it simplifies and automates is impressive.
NetOp School scores very high also in providing me with tools that leverage technology available in my classroom to allow longer attention spans, more interaction, opportunity to learn from each other, and an overall better learning experience for all of the participants.
NetOp School v2.5
Operating System Support
Windows XP, 2000, Me, MT, 9x and terminal server.
Win 3.1 supported with NetOp School v1.5.
IBM PC/PS with an 80386 processor or higher or 100% compatible
Video: Any graphics adapter supported by Windows
Disk space: Student and Teacher less than 5 Mb each
Windows: Windows XP, 2000, NT 4, 3.51, Windows 95/98, Windows Me
IPX: NetWare Windows Client or compatible
Classroom NetOp School handles up to 50 students in one classroom. You can have multiple classrooms on your network and switch between the different classrooms.
NetOp School is available in several languages including English, German, French, Spanish Danish and Italian versions.
A Japanese version is also available as a separate package.
NetOp School is sold in "license packs" such as th
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