impero smalllogoblackborderImpero is the latest classroom management tool from Impero Software. It is very much along the same lines as Ranger Remote Control. But what a difference this piece of software is. With a modern and intuitive UI this whole program feels like a step up from previous iterations of control software.

Open the program and you are greeted with a simple log on dialogue box. Entering the Username and Password and the main interface is immediately revealed.

One of the first issues with this sort of software is often finding and selecting the correct group to control and it has been done to varying success in other programs. Impero seem to have the problem cracked with a simple folder tree on the left hand side of the screen, allowing you to simply click on the group you want to manage.

Clicking on the group reveals the class in the right hand side of the screen. Usefully, each user is identified by both computer name and log-on name. This is incredibly useful as it stops in its tracks the often frantic scan around the room for computer user ICT3089363 who maybe looking at something inappropriate!

There are the usual range of send files, blank screens and block lists, but where Impero scores over its rivals is in two key areas.

Managing rather than controlling the class

Firstly the ability to create groups easily and usefully. In many other control software programs there is often a one-size-fits-all mentality. Apply a policy to one you apply it to all. Here you can create separate groups and have each of them acting under different control options. This means that you can manage groups around the classroom where some may need full access to the Internet for research, some need  focused access, some need access only to certain programs and some need to be totally restricted. This means that you can say that you are managing rather than controlling the class.

Secondly and perhaps the most fun for the teacher are the audit trail facilities. Right clicking on any user opens a folder tree that lists web sites visited, programs used, files access and many more options. These all have timings against them and are able to be exported for later discussion. Any infringement to your set policy is highlighted in red. Allowing a quick scan of your computer to reveal who is off task. This sounds like a simple change but the impact is actually enormous.

A key issue with all classroom management software is that it requires the teacher to be in front of their machine, looking at their computer screen rather than moving around the room adressing issues as before they arise rather than afterwards. The highlighting option in Impero means a quick glance at the screen reveals as much information as a detailed one would in other software.

Operating Impero also causes little or no noticeable lag on the student’s machine.

Impero seems to offer very good value and their website promises much. Indeed one of the key features is:

If you can think of a feature that is missing from Impero, tell us and we will endeavour to program the feature into Impero within 2 weeks

This has got be a must have buy for any school thinking of replacing their classroom management software and with a free 30 day trial, you really have nothing to lose.

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