I am a teacher in a small computer-based class. The kiddos are young and I cant stand behind each computer making sure they are not on Itunes or solitaire.

From my computer screen, is there a way to get a live feed of their screens in a small box (think picture in picture) so I can quickly see who is not on task and who is?

  • 3
    Every answer suppose you are talking about win OS. Is it true ? – drAlberT Sep 21 '09 at 17:24
  • 1
    Just for the record... Technology is a notoriously bad solution to people problems... – Daniel Widrick Feb 10 '14 at 7:10

10 Answers 10


iTALC does just what you are looking for. As a bonus, it has presentation mode, and remote control ability. It is a front-end to (secure!) VNC servers running on each workstation. There are windows and linux builds available. Good luck!

  • Wow, that's a fantastic program. I'm surprised there aren't more FOSS tools like this! – Mark Henderson Sep 21 '09 at 21:47
  • 1
    It's now called Veyon: veyon.io. But it looks like it doesn't support third party VNC servers, only bundled one?.. I.e. you can't just connect to remote VNC server which is already installed? – Alexandr Zarubkin Feb 7 '18 at 11:23

Why aren't the computers setup so that the kids use an account with only the software they're supposed to use in class?

I don't understand why they would have iTunes installed at for their accounts. The Microsoft games can easily be removed with the Add/Remove control panel.

  • I agree, it doesn't make sense to have applications available to them that you don't want them using. – matt Oct 20 '09 at 16:28

VNC on the computers and use VNCed to monitor the computers. Works very well and that project has a MSI package creator for VNC to deploy to Windows computers.


I work in a school as the IT person and we use VNC to remote on to anyone's pc to do stuff that we're too lazy to walk too (i'm honest) and the computing dept use NetOp school 6.0 to control each pupils computer, show them stuff and demonstrate to the class. Its really powerfull. If you just want to monitor the action of the pupil then vnc server and viewer is probably best. We've never encountered a legal issue to this and its written into our ICT policies anyway.


You can install a free VNC server program on their computers, and use a VNC client on your system to monitor their screens. You'll need to make sure you turn off keyboard and mouse event echoing so that you don't end up controlling their systems, just watching them.

One popular VNC solution for Windows is RealVNC.

  • You haven't really addressed how to monitor many screens at once. – Zoredache Sep 21 '09 at 17:29
  • 1
    Um, open multiple VNC windows...? – phoebus Sep 22 '09 at 7:00

You may use VNC and the associated ActiveX (for example) to build a monitor panel. You may find info here : http://www.veridicus.com/tummy/programming/vncx/


It is not free, but we have given VNC Manager to some of our instructors in the past to monitor computers in a lab environment. You basically must setup VNC on all the workstations, and then VNC Manager can be set to poll each client occasionally.


I once deployed Sanako http://www.sanako.com/Products/Classroom_Management/SANAKO_Study_500.iw3

It had it's kinks (didn't work with older display drivers) but otherwise a great product with lots of classroom control options. It seemed to use some kind of VNC derivative internally but had a lot of extra value.

Basically a teacher could do a lesson from home, controlling the whole class.


There is a product called Softlink http://www.acs-linksystems.com/softlink/overview.htm that will do this. It is not free, but has many features. It allows screen sharing and tiling. The instructor can block internet on the computers or completely blank the screen. And may other things that you may find useful. We have a few hundred licenses of it and it works well.


If Italc is not flexible enough, you can use VNCThumbnailViewer (http://code.google.com/p/vncthumbnailviewer/). It's a vnc viewer build to multiple hosts. It's a Java application, so, you can use it on all os (which support a java virutal machine)

  • 1
    Looks like it doesn't work now, wants a specific JRE version 1.1.8. – Alexandr Zarubkin Feb 7 '18 at 11:38