One of my pet peeves at work is kids using the computers as their own personal game units. Mostly when the superintendent specifically said “computers in schools are for education, not gaming”. So when students visit sites like http://www.coolmath-games.com, http://www.kizi.org and http://www.kizi.com it just burns me up. You are right, I shouldn’t let it bother me, but when I go into these rooms and find keyboards destroyed I just can not allow it.
First, I work with K-5 grade students, not the junior hackers of Middle School and the determined hackers in high schools. Most can’t spell none the less type. BUT they can use search engines.
So I setup Work Group Manager (WGM) to force run a Login script each time a user logs in. It sets the wallpaper, clears the browser (Safari), empties the trash and opens the schools ‘student lab page’, which has links to all the district web applications. And the final command is to run a background hidden script that checks the safari’s url bar from time to time to see what site is being visited. If it matches one of the listed sites it BEEPs 7 times at almost full volume, displays a violation notice, closes the browser and reruns then reruns the login script.
I was blown away by how well this worked. The student would visit the site, select a game, then start to play. After a few seconds, bam. They normally do this a few times before they get the hint.
Now all I have to do is monitor the computers with Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) and see if they have found any new sites. When they do I add them to the scripts lists, and push the script out to all the student computers.
Didn’t have to spend a dime and only took a couple of hours to code, deploy and test.