Living in a more boring version of 1984

Lemont tries out new monitoring software on Chromebooks

Matthew Evers, Nathan Evers, Brendan Daugherty, and Tanner Garbinski

Do you ever feel like you are being watched? Well, with the new DyKnow classroom management software, you probably are. After many requests from teachers, the tech services department has been trying out a new monitoring software that allows teachers to access their student’s Chromebook screen. DyKnow is the fourth and current software being tested; it lets teachers block certain websites, lock a student’s screen on what they want them to see, prompt students with questions, and view all the screen activities of their students.

Mr. Bill Mondrella, who is head of the Classroom Management Trial, said, “Teachers have been wanting this for a long time… We didn’t like the first three we looked at, but this one seems pretty good.” He also clarified that although the program works well, it is still in a trial period, so no final decisions have been made about its permanent implementation.

Despite this, the program has limitations: teachers can only view the screens of the students they have enrolled in their classes. This means that students are still protected from being constantly probed by anyone in the building.

The trails of new classroom management software has become step one in the enviable direction of restricting the usage of the Chromebooks for non-academic purposes. For example, a recent trial included a program that prevented the viewing of some YouTube videos, but allowed certain videos that other schools had already approved. This proved to be ineffective, as it over-blocked content. In response to this, the actions were quickly reversed. Students also noticed these changes earlier in the year when their access to Google Hangouts was removed.

Some students have become frustrated by the frequent restrictions and trials implemented onto the Chromebooks. Senior Alec Adriatico said, “Restrictions on our chromebooks are necessary, but the addition of DyKnow and the blocking of YouTube videos, especially the comments section, is way too much.”

In the end, it is all for the betterment of student education here at Lemont. The Manager of Education Technology Services, Donna Wall, said “A classroom management system can help teachers keep students on task in our digital environment and maximize learning in our classrooms.”

Brendan Daugherty
Many students were frustrated after losing access to several YouTube videos. The restrictions were soon rolled back after the program did not achieve its intended purpose.