Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Keeping The Focus

I have to admit, some days it's REALLY hard keeping students focused ON the same WEB page for a lesson. Especially now that the weather is getting nicer. But last week after visiting the NYPL's tech/classes I saw something that really blew me away. They have this neat computer panel called Crestron (for computer control) and what it does is it gives instructors web control (among other features). You could actually share what one student is working on (on his/her terminal) with the rest of the class. Almost like a showcase feature. It's very easy (famous last words). So when my students sat down for their online lesson (prepared by NYPL staffers), they were only allowed to visit the sites that were pre-selected for the instruction...and ONLY those sites. There was no "I am bored" so let me surf the web or check my email...none of that. Now maybe all schools have this feature installed on their computers, but we don't. So as always, I went to the K-F, tech guru Mike Bourdet who is a master at finding the RIGHT THING FOR THE RIGHT PRICE. I mean this sincerely. Within a day he pointed me to this Geneva software, specifically for schools. Not only was it a similar version of what I saw at NYPL (he priced the Crestron and it was out of our $$$ range), but it was considerably less expensive. Here's a blurb from the Surf Lock feature site...
"Block Instantly stop student web surfing for a single student or the entire class. Turn browsing off (or back on) from the teacher’s computer.
PreventRemove the temptation of web surfing during important lessons and discussions. Reward selected students with surf time without disrupting the class."

Right now, we're just testing out the 30 day free trial version. But I am optimistic about the potential benefits of this product. ***This is no product endorsement because we haven't used it yet. I just hope it lives up to its web page information. As always, I'll let you know.

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