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About the product/service: As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received a free license to run Lanschool v7.4 from Lanschool Technologies on three of my home computers. (This is the home version.)
Okay, I am going to make an attempt to describe what this software does. It does a whole lot, so I won't probably do it justice. However, feel free to check it out yourself. (You can take a guided tour here.)
First of all, this product was created for the classroom. You can imagine the insanity if you sat 20 or 30 kids down in room full of computers and attempted to get them all to go to a particular document of website. The Lanschool software gives the teacher total control. The computers can be controlled remotely, websites can be blocked, and if the class or a particular student is not paying attention, the teacher can put up a blank screen at any time. The teacher can also put up her screen on the students' computer, and vice versa. At any time she can see what the students are doing. Genius! :)
So basically, the home version does the same thing. If you send your child to his or her room to check out a website and you hear what sounds suspiciously like somebody is playing a game, you don't have to get off Facebook or turn off your favorite show, you can just click a button and see your child's screen. Don't like what you see? Blank the screen, block the game site, send a message or all of the above! LOL
Also, even if your child is completely trustworthy (and I'm sure that is the case) it is just convenient if you can communicate through the computer, pull up your child's screen remotely if he or she has a question, or show him or her something you are looking at on your computer. It's really just an all around handy tool.
What are the pros of this product? There are multiple benefits to running this program. You can monitor your child's computer use, communicate with your family more easily, teach multiple children in multiple rooms at the same time, and do it all while sitting in a comfy chair sipping a cup of chai! LOL
What's not to like? Some folks might not feel comfortable with some of the more "stealth" aspects of this program. However, you don't have to use every feature.
The Crazy Mom take: Well, I have to hang my head in shame. I really goofed on this one. I said I would be able to do the review because my computers are networked, and they are, but right now they are not running Windows as we've had several virus issues. On top of that, one of the hard drives is ready to crash. The laptop is the only computer I have right now that is working properly, so I couldn't install this program.
Bummer. This looked pretty darn cool. Let's just say we have issues here at the Crazy House. You might not want to believe this, but sometimes my kids actually play games when they are supposed to be doing their school. Please don't be shocked!!! And sometimes they stay up late at night on the computer long after "lights out." Scandalous! And sometimes, this is very humbling to admit, sometimes I don't want to get off my sorry behind to go to another part of the house to help out a child in need. (Well, sometimes I am actually working with one child on one computer when someone else needs me on another. However, that is not so dramatic. LOL)
Anyway, the Lanschool features would REALLY help me out. I mean, I'm always looking for a little extra help. If someone was playing a computer game and I wanted them to do a chore, it would be most delightful to be able to press a button and "Poof!" blank out their screen! Oh, the joy of it!!! And it would be great to simply block out certain websites that my kids love, but I don't exactly approve of. Nothing seedy, but there are just a lot of mindless game sites out there that I could honestly live without around here. We have lots of rules, but my kids seem to like to prove out that old adage "Rules are made to be broken."
Without going into detail, there have been several rules that have been broken around here by certain people. I can't sit behind my kids 24/7. Now, I'm not saying they need 24 hour surveillance, but there are times that their behavior suggests something "forbidden" is going on. You know, quickly changing tabs when I walk into the room, or things like that. So, in those instances, it would be nice to be able to check it out, you know, to prove their innocence. Of course, since we have other operating systems installed, this would be of no use when dealing with my older, computer savvy kids.
The other aspects of the program are completely positive. It would be cool to be able to watch the same thing on all three computers. With so many of us, it is not easy to crowd around the screen. It would also be fun to be able to communicate back and forth with out having our Facebook or e-mail open. (Can you say temptation?) The ability to control the computers remotely has all sorts of potential. And I know my kids would love getting a pop up quiz once in a while, especially if it was about something silly!
Anyway, I regret not being able to actually check this out personally, but I think it looks like a great idea. Not all of it is a good fit for every family, and it might not even be necessary for some, but I think there are plenty of features that could be of benefit in most households. But who am I to say what is right for you? Check it out yourself, and see what you think!!!
What's the bottom line? The cost for the home version is $99 for a perpetual license to run the software. (While the license if free to educators, homeschoolers do not qualify.) The fee includes three years of upgrades and support.
I am going to give Lanschool 3 out of 5 smileys!!!
Check it out! http://www.lanschool.com/lanschool/home-version
See what my fellow TOS Crew members have to say @
*The Smiley System:
I can't really recommend this product.
This is a good product, but isn't right for everyone.
Most homeschool moms will find this useful.
This is great, and I would recommend it to anyone!!!
Disclaimer!!! I reviewed this product because I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I was given the product by the vendor to use and evaluate in my home so that I might share my insights with others. Other than receiving the product, which I kinda have to to be able to assess the product, I am not compensated for my reviews in any way. I am in no way obligated to give a positive review. I do try to point out negatives when I see them, though I am admittedly a pretty easy going gal! What you read are my honest assessments of the products I receive.
As with all products, you must do the research before buying. Please visit the the other crew members' blogs, the vendor websites, and any other review sites you might find before buying. I can't guarantee that a product will work for you. You must decide what will fit with your teaching style, and your child(ren)'s learning style(s). I do not judge anything other than the educational value of the products I review. I am not qualified to make judgements as to the safely of any product, and I make no guarantee that the products I review are safe for you, your family, or anyone else. I am simply giving my opinion; only you know what is best for you and your family.
Don't use your blow dryer while you sleep or take a bath. Don't read my reviews in the tub either, and please do not read them when you are asleep, though I do not guarantee that you won't fall asleep reading them!
Copyright 2010 Ramblings from the Crazy House 2