Spend time teaching not geeking.

How much of your class time is spent managing computers? And who has the time to learn complex computer programs to move files, open and close windows, launch applications, go to websites, and the countless other management tasks that take away from limited instruction time?

If you're like most teachers, you're looking for simple, easy-to-use tools that setup what you need and then get out of your way. Well, Apple Remote Desktop and Automator are your new best friends.

Create Your Own Automation Recipes

Think of every computer management task as a series of actions, or steps, performed in sequence to accomplish a goal -- in much the same way as you define the steps necessary to create a recipe for your favorite dish. Using simple drag-and-drop procedures, you can create workflows (recipes) in Automator to perform the steps necessary to manage the computers in your school lab.

This website is a great place to begin learning how to automate the repetitive tasks you perform every day. Start with the videos on Automator LEARN section to get a quick but thorough overview of what Automator is and how it works, and then look at the workflow EXAMPLES section to see how to save time and avoid the stress of managing computers. Especially important is the section about Apple Remote Desktop and how this remarkable tool for managing computers can be automated using Automator as well.

The Teacher's Helpers

To make it easier to get up-to-speed with automating Remote Desktop, we've created a set of workflows that can be installed on your administration computer (the one running the Remote Desktop administration program).

When installed along with the ARD Action Pack (a set of Automator actions augmenting the 30+ ones that ship with Remote Desktop) the Teacher's Helpers workflows will be available from the system-wide Script Menu activated during the installation. Each workflow can be customized and changed by selecting it from the Script Menu while holding down the Option key to open the workflow in Automator for editing.

Here's a list of the workflows that comprise the Teacher's Helpers:

  1. Adjust Volume
  2. Cleanup Computers
  3. Close Every Finder Window
  4. Copy Finder Selection to Computers
  5. Delete Desktop Items
  6. Set Finder Access Options
  7. Display Message
  8. Stop Showing Message
  9. Dock - Hide
  10. Dock - Show
  11. Set Dock Access Options
  12. Eject All Disks
  13. Empty Trash
  14. Enable Disable Dashboard
  15. Execute AppleScript
  1. Force Quit All Apps
  2. Force Quit Application
  3. Observe Computers
  4. Open Folder
  5. Open System Preference
  6. Open Web Page
  7. Present Movie
  8. Screens Lock
  9. Screens Unlock
  10. Set Desktop Picture
  11. Set Quicktime Player Prefs
  12. Start Application
  13. Start Screen Saver