Many schools have been finding it useful to allow Internet access for administrative purposes and teacher access. This is not difficult when using a filtered router in conjunction with filters on individual devices. Sometimes questions arise as to what can and should be accessed for classroom presentation and instruction. Current guidelines limit classroom presentation material to PowerPoint and other non-video web material such as maps, etc.
Offering Internet at schools has brought a challenge of how to allow students to access networked devices for printing and file sharing and yet still block access to the Internet on the student devices. There is no one perfect solution but with some effort on your part, the options presented here can be made to work satisfactorily. The steps below will give you an overview of how this can be accomplished.
If you are planning for Internet at school you will need a managed, router-based filter such as the CloudVeil Router. This system blocks most adult and malicious content but is not a substitute for filters on devices. It consists of a router as well as optional access points and switches. Most schools find that 1 or 2 access points and an 8 port switch are sufficient for their needs. The switch allows you to connect desktop computers that may not have Wifi as well as wired printers, network drives, and additional access points.
There are several reasons for a high-quality filtered router such as the one from CloudVeil. One is that it offers DNS level filtering on guest devices. Another is that it offers backup filtering in the event that a filter on a device malfunctions and it allows management of Internet connectivity on specific devices such as those used by students. As described below, a number of the options shown can work by simply disabling the Internet for that specific device right on the router/firewall. If you need to run updates or install programs from the Internet, it can be temporarily enabled separately for each device from the web console. In the event that you want to allow specific apps such as typing tutors that require Internet connectivity, then you’ll want to choose an operating system that offers the ability to restrict the Internet and yet allow connection to the typing website.
Choose the type of devices that will be used for student training. Below is a list of options showing both pros and cons for each operating system.
A network printer will allow students to print completed assignments. A network storage drive (NAS) will allow students to save files to a central location for later retrieval. NAS drives can be purchased online for $200 or $300. A very simple method of saving files is to assign each student a USB drive. This USB drive also allows students to complete assignments at home. The Windows option 2 above includes network file storage.