Online Learning: How to Promote Student Engagement and Safety


In remote learning environments, both synchronous and asynchronous, how can educators monitor and promote student engagement? How do they create a safe learning environment, especially with younger students? And, how do they conduct fair and transparent assessments to promote and evaluate student learning?

Monitor and protect students with Lenovo LanSchool Air   

Lenovo’s LanSchool Air software provides answers to these questions by giving educators visibility into what remote students are doing on their devices. Lanschool Air works with Chromebooks, as well as Windows and Mac devices, to allow the educator to monitor and protect learners during synchronous learning sessions.

With LanSchool Air, educators can limit which websites students can access, view all activity on each student’s device at a glance, blank screens to focus student attention and even push out a specific website to the devices of all remote learners at once. With rapid and simple deployment, LanSchool Air can be up and running quickly. A one-year licence to LanSchool Air is included with the purchase of any Lenovo device, so many jurisdictions will already have access to some LanSchool Air licensing. 

GoGuardian software solutions for teachers and admins

GoGuardian Teacher gives educators a real-time digital window into student activity during synchronous learning sessions. GoGuardan Teacher’s suite of useful tools includes pre-populated tabs that can be pushed out to each student device, with off-task alerts, built-in videoconferencing, screen sharing and lesson recording. 

GoGuardian Admin provides a robust toolset for IT departments to set up device-agnostic web-content filtering, device tracking and provide alerts based on student browsing history to help identify students who may be at risk. Both GoGuardian Teacher and Admin include intuitive reporting capabilities to help teachers and IT administrators respond to trends they see in the hybrid learning environment. 

Video solutions for synchronous learning

In hybrid teaching and learning scenarios, how does the student remain connected to the classroom to see and hear clearly what is happening?  And how does the educator remain connected to both groups of students simultaneously with minimal complexity? 

We have heard from many jurisdictions looking for a way for students to connect to a live classroom environment by video. One large Toronto-based school board evaluated several devices, including webcams and camcorders on tripods, against a specific set of criteria. In the end, they settled on Lenovo’s ThinkSmart Viewwhich ties seamlessly into their Microsoft Teams platform.

The ThinkSmart View was the clear winner for several reasons. The device is extremely simple to set up and use for the educator and can easily be shared amongst classrooms. The audio and video clarity, using the built-in high definition camera, speaker and far-field microphones, was found to be better than the alternative solutions. The device also stands alone and does not need to be attached to the instructor’s device – no cables trailing across classrooms that could present a hazard. 

It’s also easy to move the ThinkSmart View to different locations within a classroom, to position it in landscape or portrait orientations depending on what students are viewing and to connect a Bluetooth headset in noisy environments, or to accommodate educator or student accessibility needs. 

In the post-COVID environment, there is an excellent place for these devices to be used as Teams meeting hubs for small groups in schools, for administrators to attend remote meetings, or even for school trustees and others who want to attend sessions remotely. As such, the Lenovo ThinkSmart View is a good short and long-term investment. 

A hybrid learning solution that allows teachers to move freely

The Poly Studio helps facilitate hybrid learning where instructors are in a live classroom environment with some students attending from home. It is an all-in-one solution comprised of a high-fidelity microphone, speaker and camera built into a single device. 

With the Poly Studio’s speaker tracking feature, the camera keeps tracking teachers as they move about the classroom, so they do not have to worry about moving away from the camera while they teach. This is a great feature for the busy teacher who can still move freely within the learning environment without needing to worry about being visible to the students who are attending remotely.

Here’s what makes Poly Studio easy to set up and use

With a simple, single USB connection, you can connect the Poly Studio to the teacher’s device. One of the other great benefits of the Poly Studio is that it works with all videoconferencing platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. And Bluetooth or corded microphones can be attached to the Poly Studio, in situations where noise levels in the classroom might interfere with the remote student’s learning.

To learn more about CDW’s remote and hybrid learning solutions, visit

By Alistair MacLeod, CDW Education Strategist

Alistair MacLeod is a CDW Education Strategist with more than 30 years in the education sector – from educator to Technology-Enabled Learning Specialist to Manager of Information Technology, among other experiences and accolades. With the CDW Canada team, Alistair’s goal is to better support customers through this challenging period in education and into the future as technology continues to shape education delivery and engagement models.