In an effort to help districts cope with an ever-growing student population speaking languages other than English, NetSupport is adding multiple languages to its keyword monitoring software, which lets schools keep an eye on student communications by automatically flagging certain phrases or words.
According to the company, the addition will enable staff in schools with a diverse ethnic mix of students to be able to monitor community languages other than English for safeguarding purposes.
In 2014, a record of 63.5 million U.S. residents (22 percent of which aged between 5-17 years old) spoke a language other than English at home — doubling from 1990, and expected to increase to 40 percent by 2030, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.
The new language packs, which work with the NetSupport DNA program, will feature in the product’s comprehensive keyword monitoring tool — and will be updated with new languages on a regular basis.
The tool uses advanced neurolinguistics technology to provide nominated school staff with an insight into what students have typed, the pages and content they have searched for and the text they have copied into clipboard. It monitors both web and desktop applications, and gives schools the option to exclude certain applications from monitoring. It draws on an extensive database of keywords and phrases covering the spectrum of safeguarding topics, to provide real value to schools.
A new update
The additions come on the heels of a wider update to DNA — version 4.3. The new version offers a 2 for 1 solution to manage technology both in the classroom and across the school or district, which includes both NetSupport School (classroom management) and NetSupport DNA (IT asset management).
From a local lab level, instructors can monitor, control, assess and collaborate with all the classroom devices (Win, Mac, Chrome, Android and iOS) while from a wider perspective, school or district technicians can track, monitor and manage all the IT assets across the network. In addition to traditional ITAM features such an inventory data, license management, software distribution, application / internet metering and custom alerting, this single solution now includes a a real-time overview and visual display of all PCs on the network and new safeguarding tools.
Schools will be able to extend their safeguarding provision to a wider group of students, as the language packs allow them to see and monitor phonetic representations of what students are typing in languages other than English; alerting them to activity by any student who is potentially open to physical or emotional harm – and allows them to take the appropriate action.
A word cloud is also created for each category, highlighting trending terms within a school and providing further details on the entry.
“Although safeguarding is now a key priority for schools, few have the tools to monitor and support ELL students whose numbers in schools are rising,” said NetSupport’s Managing Director, Al Kingsley. “Working with a range of schools and community leaders in numerous countries, we have developed a number of comprehensive language packs which include both phonetic representations and slang phrases specific to each language. Schools that have already invested in IT management tools to ensure cost efficiencies and secure their networks can now leverage the benefit of these extra safeguarding features at no additional cost.”
NetSupport collaborated with the Internet Watch Foundation to compile the initial English version of the keyword and phrases database. Speaking about the addition of language support, its Commercial Relationship Manager, Nicky Peachment, said: “We’re really happy to see NetSupport taking additional steps to better protect young people from accessing potentially damaging content. It’s a great example of how we’re sharing expertise with our internet industry Members to help develop new protection tools.”