Ahhh….Apple Remote Desktop… For classroom teachers I swear this is the best piece of software Apple has ever designed! Just two weeks ago I was becoming highly annoyed by all of the computers in my room. I do a pretty good job of monitoring online behavior, but to be completely honest sometimes I miss things. You see I have this little job called teaching that gets in the way of all of the time I would need to spend monitoring the computer behavior of 30 students each with their own Macbook. At one point I even considered a method for making my room “dark” for wireless access on the days we didn’t need it.
Fortunately, though the weekend before last I got a copy of Apple Remote Desktop and this past week installed the master list file for all of the student computers at my site. Now I can easily monitor computer activity and even download reports. However, the most powerful feature is just the fact that my students know I am watching them and they are watching each other. When I move around the room assisting students I leave Remote Desktop fired up and in Observe mode. On the screen in front of the room students watch ARD cycle through all of the computers in the room, 9 at a time. Depending on the number of kids I have in each period an individual student’s screen is displayed about once every 20-30 seconds. What’s really funny is that if anyone tries to sneak off to place where they don’t belong someone in the class notices almost immediately and reports them.
The first day my students weren’t too hip on ARD. They really hated when I would lock their computers. However, they have grown to like certain features. This week my classes used Keynote and iMovie to complete a video vocabulary project. When someone would get stuck they would raise their hand and ask me to take over their computer. From my laptop at the front of the class I could take control of their computer and walk them individually through the steps again. I was amazed how many more students I was able to help using this method because as I was controlling their computer, the student’s screen was displayed full-size in front of the class. As I individually helped one person, a few others in the room with a similar question could also get their answer at the same time. Another handy ARD feature is the ability to send users files. I had a few kids who were absent the first part of the week. Rather than having them start from scratch, I would just send them the example file I had been adding to each day using ARD. With just a few clicks the file would appear on their desktop and they would be on track with the rest of the class.
The power of ARD is so well known at my school that as soon as I posted on my Facebook page, “I love Remote Desktop” I had two teachers emailing me wondering what they had to do to get the master student list. I completely understand why. The features I have described are just a few, but if you are interested in the software check out the tutorials on Apple’s site. They do a great job demonstrating all of ARD’s perks.
Apple website for Apple Remote Desktop