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Teacher-student messaging and desktop sharing

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Doctor Q, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    We're going to be setting up a Mac OS X network in a classroom, with students on iMacs, the teacher on an iMac, and a Mac Pro server running Leopard Server.

    Our requirements:
    • The teacher must be able to chat with students, i.e., send a message like "Did you finish Assignment 7?" and get the answer back on the screen.
    • The teacher must be able to see or control the student's desktop.
    Our software:
    • Apple Remote Desktop, which can handle both tasks.
    • Leopard Server, which includes iChat server, which can also do these things (see iChat features). If we set up iChat Server, it would be just for in-class communications. We wouldn't need to talk to the outside world.
    My question: Which would be better for these purposes?

    I'm asking because I don't know how specific ARD and iChat features compare for this kind of use in a classroom.
  2. macrumors 68030

    Les Kern

    ARD is the way to go. This will do a number of things the teacher might like. It has the ability to lock the screens, observe, share files, chat, log them off, shut them down... well, there are too many things to list. I have 800 Macs and it's THE single most important tool I have. (well, mostly!)
    iChat? Extra work setting it up on the server, and I have doubts it can be limited to class-only use. If they have OD access to it, they can change or add accounts... or CHEAT with file sharing. I have it on the black-list.
    Don't go there!
  3. Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Thanks, Les. :)
  4. macrumors member

    ARD is the tool that you want. It also does so much more and will be a real time saver for distributing files, updates, sending unix commands, etc. iChat would allow for the students to chat with each other, and I'm guessing you want to limit it to student-teacher interaction?
  5. Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Yes, viggen9, we'd want to limit it. We let the more experienced students help the less experienced students with their assignments, but I think we'll stick to having them walk across the room and not let them talk to each other in chat, since that would clearly turn into a technique to "pass notes in class."

    It sounds like we should heed the advice to stick to Apple Remote Desktop.

    * * *

    Our next issue will be whether to use Leopard's Wiki Server for the teacher and/or student web pages, with each of them maintaining their own web pages, read-only to others.

    The teacher's web page is where assignments and instructions and examples are posted. Student web pages, which would be new this year, would let them report on their individual progress.

    We're already using Dreamweaver for the teacher's page. The question is whether using Wiki Server would make it more convenient for everyone to share what they have to say (with a few clicks instead of editing in a full design program), or whether it would take away too much flexibility.
  6. macrumors 68030

    Les Kern

    Hmmm.... I have a Wiki/Blog/iCal/Etc server up, but think a little more creatively here? I have to assume all users have iWeb? If so, consider setting them all on your server, perhaps just teachers initially, and using Easy iWeb Publisher. Let them be a little more creative. I'd let the students USE iWeb, it's just contolling the uploads is kind of obvious. Have you SEEN some of what the kids create? :)
    However, for true COLLABORATIVE work, Leopard's Wiki server is outstanding and a breeze to set up.


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