More than 450 companies were at this year’s NECC displaying their technology solutions for educators. Here are some of the highlights of companies’ products related to computer security and network management:

Apple Computer unveiled its Remote Desktop 2 software, offering 50 new features over its predecessor. These features include remote software installation; built-in, real-time screen sharing for online assistance; remote control to perform common OS X functions simultaneously across multiple systems; and user access mode, allowing a subset of users to be granted administrator privileges. The product will be available in July.

NetSupport products have a special appeal for the K-12 field because strained school budgets require software, rather than hardware, solutions for networking issues. There is no need for hardware with NetSupport School, which can provide interactive classroom instruction, testing, and monitoring. Version 7.5 of the product, released in April, combines instructional capabilities with all new testing/polling modules and application/internet monitoring functionality. Teachers can demonstrate applications in real time, display their computer screen on students’ screens, create customized tests, manage application and web usage, monitor student progress, nominate group leaders, digitally send out and collect coursework, annotate the screen, perform online chat, and much more. The product is currently available only for Windows. NetSupport School is aimed at classrooms, but another product, NetSupport DNA, lets administrators keep track of the entire network’s activity, as well as a school or district’s hardware and software inventory.

News from the exhibit hall

  • NECC roundup: CEOs get behind ed-tech
  • Assessment and instructional management
  • Communications and audio
  • Curriculum and software
  • Digital imaging and creativity
  • Hardware and peripherals
  • Library systems and technologies
  • Online learning and research
  • Presentation solutions
  • Professional development
  • School administrative solutions
  • St. Bernard Software, a global provider of web-content filtering appliances to schools and businesses, came to NECC with the results of a new national survey, which showed that 59 percent of school technology decision-makers say at least some of their students have accessed inappropriate web content at school in the past year. The scientifically based survey, commissioned by St. Bernard Software, was conducted in June by JAS Market Research. It found that school decision makers cite games as the biggest problem, followed by pornography, violence, and hate sites. St. Bernard Software recommended its iPrism product as a content-filtering solution. iPrism, an internet-access management appliance can monitor, filter, and report on inappropriate internet usage, the company said. Each day, a St. Bernard Software team updates iPrism’s database to ensure that inappropriate content is being blocked from students’ view. St. Bernard also cited a case study in Greenwood, Ind., which showed that its content-filtering products had led to dramatic savings for the school district.

    SonicWALL Inc., a leading provider of integrated network security, mobility, and productivity solutions, aims to secure wireless networks in schools. The company displayed its SOHO TZW Education Edition, a fully integrated distributed wireless solution featuring an 802.11b wireless access point, firewall, and IPSec virtual private network (VPN) technology. SonicWALL says the product is ideal for schools seeking a highly secure, affordable wireless network. The company, which has won the eSchool News Readers’ Choice Award among other honors in its 13-year existence, strives to offer “rock-solid” security while making its own technology transparent. Schools can even customize their networks so that students and administrators each can have their own levels of security.

    Vericept Corp., a provider of risk-management solutions, announced that it has been working with expert Nancy Willard, executive director of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use, to create a grant template that helps schools gain federal funding through the Safe and Drug Free Schools program for use of Vericept’s technology. Vericept enables “virtual adult supervision” of student internet, eMail, and network use through its Vericept Intelligence Platform. Monitoring thousands of schools across the country, Vericept’s solution identifies instances of network misuse by students, visits to web sites that provide potentially dangerous information, online drug dealing, and eMail dialogs threatening violent acts–providing administrators with the tools and information needed to deter potentially harmful behavior.

    Version3 Inc., developer of the Version3 Simple Sign-On solution, said its access management application operates in a healthy Microsoft Active Directory environment to allow any educational institution to simplify its identity management initiative, streamline its business process, and reduce administration costs. In addition, the application gives students single-point authentication and access to school resources, information, and applications. Version3 also announced its School Access Management Initiative (SAMI). The program enables educators to purchase Simple Sign-On for a reduced price, with the objective of establishing a coordinated, system-wide effort–from kindergarten through the graduate level–to develop a secure student-identity management infrastructure.

    This eSchool News Online report on the 2004 NECC is made possible with financial support of Dell.