Picking the Best Software to Manage Your Digital Classroom

Transitioning to tech-enabled classrooms brings boundless possibilities. But also unique supervision challenges. Students today have countless distractions – little rectangles with endless apps, sites and messages competing for their attention.

As a teacher in 2023, you may sometimes feel you’re fighting an impossible battle to keep students focused. But what if you had a software ally allowing you to guide your class like an orchestral conductor – minus the baton?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover such classroom management platforms offering that digitally-powered helping hand.

Why Do Teachers Need Classroom Management Software?

Remember when students worked heads-down on paper assignments? That level of focus feels harder and harder to recreate today. As learning intertwines with technology, student devices open limitless windows…to distraction.

It’s no surprise teachers consider technology the biggest classroom distraction today. One survey showed 95% of students off task when using devices. Over half admitted technology distracted them daily.

This divided attention severely impacts retention and academic performance. Studies show students retain just 20% of content when distracted by tech versus 75% with focused learning.

Such divided focus also multiplies classroom management overheads for educators. Continually monitoring student activity and redirecting straying attention is exhausting. Little wonder teachers yearn for better ways to enable device use while managing resulting pitfalls.

This is where classroom management software comes to the rescue! These platforms provide digital visibility plus controls to keep students on track. Teachers gain a command center to orchestrate the tech-enabled classroom.

Capability highlights include:

• Screen Monitoring: Visibility into open sites, applications on all student devices

• Limit Access: Block distracting or inappropriate websites and apps

• Chat Monitoring: View concerning messages indicating bullying, self-harm

• Remote Control: Take over student mouse/keyboard to demonstrate

• Activity Dashboard: Monitor tabs, appsused by an individual or class

• Content Filtering: Allow or limit website categories like social media, gaming

These superpowers help teachers guide digital classrooms effectively:

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Source: EdTech Magazine

With hybrid and remote learning now commonplace, demand for specialized platforms to support tech-based teaching boomed during the pandemic.

Enterprise usage of classroom monitoring solutions grew 200% between 2019 and 2021. By 2026, a $7.6B+ global market is forecasted.

Familiarity with student usage patterns makes teachers best positioned to evaluate such solutions.

  • 93% of educators say devices make monitoring student progress and activity much harder
  • 57% want better classroom management to address device distraction/misuse
  • 55% seek tools providing visibility into student screen/web activity

With demand established, let’s explore the top classroom management platforms enabling the 21st century teacher.

Key Features to Look For in 2023

With an abundance of choice, a set of core criteria helps narrow suitable options:

Multi-OS support – Windows, Mac, Chromebook, iPad monitoring is essential for ubiquitous visibility

Intuitive interface – Must not intimidate educators less comfortable with technology

Performance at scale – Some solutions choke above small groups while others easily scale to districts

Privacy controls – Limited data access, permission prompts before remote control builds student trust

Mobile support – Native iOS and Android apps for on-the-go monitoring

Custom reporting – Ad-hoc monitoring summaries to refine teaching methods

3rd party integrations – Ties to popular learning platforms like Google Classroom, Canvas and Microsoft Teams

Let’s review the top options using these criteria as guardrails.

The Best Classroom Management Software of 2023

1. Faronics Insight – Most Intuitive Interface

Vancouver-based Faronics launched Insight in 2021, quickly earning acclaim for its elegant simplicity. Designed to deploy rapidly across mixed environments, Insight provides core monitoring features via an intuitive interface.

The streamlined dashboard offers one-click access to key functions like screen viewing, chat monitoring and website blocking. The uncluttered design aligned to how teachers actually work makes Insight easy to onboard.

While light on advanced controls seen in some competing solutions, it neatly covers classroom monitoring essentials. Review site EdSurge praises Insight‘s "clear, functional, responsive user experience".

Key Features: Real-time screen visibility, limit web/app access, ad-free filtering, activity dashboard

Integrations: Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, Canvas, Clever

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, iOS, Android

💻 Faronics Website

2. NetSupport School – Most Comprehensive Features

This classroom management veteran from UK-based NetSupport offers one of the most capability-rich platforms available.

30+ years of classroom focus results in a stable, battle-tested suite blending visibility, analytics, testing and hardware inventory tracking. Support for specialized tools like digital whiteboards and interactive displays maximizes flexibility.

While extremely functional, the dated interface trails more modern rivals. But for unfettered monitoring power, NetSupport School shines via built-in testing, surveys, chat monitoring and device management flexibility.

Key Features: Granular screen monitoring, lock web pages/apps, send lesson plans, online examinations, monitoring alerts for concerning phrases

Integrations: Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, Canvas, Active Directory, more

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Chromebook, iOS, Android

💻 NetSupport Website

3. Impero – Most Advanced Alerts and Reporting

Texas-headquartered Impero is a longstanding classroom management solution combining monitoring, analytics and robust policy controls.

The suite provides expected screen visibility, website blocking and chat monitoring capabilities. Impero really shines on the reporting front – drilling down into system logs to instantly spotlight concerning trends.

The level of monitoring customization surpasses most offerings, especially for tracking at-risk behaviors. granular alerts trigger based on profanity, pornography, radicalization keywords plus emerging online challenges like self-harm trends.

Robust integration with school directory platforms like Azure, Clever and Google synchronization simplifies deployment across districts. Impero offers a strong blend of safety and simple policy enforcement.

Key Features: Customizable monitoring alerts, blur NSFW images, Active Directory integration, detailed activity reports

Integrations: Google Classroom, Microsoft 365, Clever, Azure

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, iOS, Android

💻 Impero Website

4. Hapara – Best for Google Classrooms

New Zealand-based Hapara centers around supercharging the teacher experience within Google Workspace. Starting at just $2 per student per month, the platform delivers affordable Workplace oversight.

While Hapara lacks advanced controls beyond Google’s environment, no rival integrates closer with Classroom, Drive, Meet and other Workplace apps. One-click document distribution, sharable assignments and the ability to "Join" student web sessions makes G Suite collaboration seamless.

For educators invested in Chromebooks and Google-centric workflows, Hapara removes headaches. Their Chromebook dashboard becomes mission control offering previously impossible oversight into student collaboration.

Key Features: Deep Google Workspace integration, document management, web history filters, easy sharing

Integrations: G Suite ecosystem exclusively

Platforms: Chrome OS primarily but with some iOS/Android visibility

💻 Hapara Website

5. Securly – Most Advanced AI-Powered Filtering

Santa Clara upstart Securly stands out for applying artificial intelligence-based web filtering built specifically for K-12 students. Age-appropriate policies follow kids across devices using fingerprints tied to school accounts.

Instead of simple allow/block lists, Securly combines computer vision and NLP frameworks to dynamically classify content in real-time. Their "Sentiment Analysis" goes beyond text, detecting concerning emotions expressed in videos, chats and emails.

While their focus stays on safety versus classroom oversight, targeted exclusions and smart suggestions help students self-correct poor browsing choices. For strictly managing web activity, Securly leads in innovation.

Key Features: AI-powered web filter, sentiment analysis, self-harm prevention, customizable policy engine

Integrations: Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Canvas, ClassLink, Clever

Platforms: Any device with Securly filtering enabled

💻 Securly Website

Others Worth Exploring

While the above solutions cover a wide range of needs, a few other specialty offerings merit consideration:

  • LanSchool – Feature-packed with excellent screen monitoring including mini-view of all students
  • Netop Vision – Purpose-built for large districts with deep Active Directory integration
  • ClassTech – Specializes in high-scale deployments with strong optimization

Which Option is The Right Choice?

With expanded visibility into the classroom management landscape, tailoring the ideal fit depends on your environment and top priorities.

For intuitive operation and affordable monitoring, Faronics Insight gets our vote. NetSupport School offers unrivaled depth for advanced requirements.

If relying heavily on Chromebooks, Hapara brings seamless Google Workspace enhancement. Impero leads in safety-focused alerting and reporting.

Those leaning on AI for next-gen filtering should evaluate Securly. Alternatively, LanSchool provides reliable monitoring with iPad emphasis.

Thankfully, almost all leading platforms offer trial versions…so you can test drive before deciding!

The only wrong choice? Sticking to formerly impossible attempts at solo oversight across multiplying student devices. Modern classrooms demand modern management aid.

Final Thoughts

Teaching today brings evolving challenges unseen by prior generations. But also new solutions undreamt of previously.

Classroom management software forms part of that educational innovation – digitally empowering teachers through unprecedented visibility, analytics and control.

The key is embracing rather than avoiding the tech-enabled classroom. With oversight assistance, device distraction morphs into an engagement multiplier allowing more immersive lesson collaboration.

So don’t view technology as a liability pulling student attention in infinite directions. See it as the ultimate teaching tool now within easier reach.

With the right visibility platform, your classroom orchestration skills can shine brighter than ever. Bring on the tech transformation!