If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either a teacher at a school who wants to connect classroom computers to an external network for lesson planning and collaborating, or you’re a student who wants to do the same at home. With school starting later this year, there’s no better time to get started on this than now.
While you may be tempted to just connect your school or college computers to the internet via WiFi, this is generally not a good idea. Instead, you should connect them to a VPN (virtual private network) service which encrypts all data travelling between your devices and the internet.
If you’re a teacher, you may already know how important it is to keep your school networked and safe. A VPN offers a few crucial layers of security that WiFi does not, protecting you and your students from prying eyes and hackers. Connecting your devices to a VPN also keeps your personal data secure and away from nefarious individuals or systems.
Teachers can use educational tools like Classroom 2.0 and Google Classroom to easily set up remote learning sessions and allow students to collaborate across time and space. With Google Classroom, for example, you can set up a classroom network with your class mates where you can all share documents, photos, and videos. You can also create individual accounts for students so that they can keep up with their assignments independently, without having to ask you for help every time.
But setting up a school network with all of these tools can be tricky. That’s where a VPN comes in. By connecting your school network to a VPN, you can ensure that all of your devices are always protected, and that your personal and student data are always secure.
The Advantages of a VPN for Teachers
Here are just some of the advantages of connecting your school network to a VPN:
- Full VPN coverage provided by leading providers
- Increased security by shielding your network from hackers and the occasional snooper
- Access to services like cloud computing and remote desktop tools that can boost your productivity
- Ability to monitor and control what your students do online, ensuring no harmful content is accessed
Some of these advantages may seem obvious to teachers, but they can still feel a little bit elusive. For instance, you may want to give your students access to cloud storage so that they can collaborate on documents, but you don’t want them to be able to access potentially dangerous websites or social media platforms. A VPN can help you balance these conflicting desires by allowing you to control what your students can access, when they can access it, and how long they can stay online.
How to Connect a School Computer to a VPN
If you’re setting up a school network at home, the first thing you should do is consult with your school’s IT department. They will be able to point you in the right direction and help you decide what software and devices you will need. Once you have a network in place, they can help you secure it with a VPN.
Here are the steps you’ll need to take to connect your school computer to a VPN:
Choose A VPN
As mentioned above, you should consult with your school’s IT department before starting any kind of network at home, especially if you’re doing anything more than connecting two devices. They will be able to advise you on the best VPN to use for your needs. There are plenty of reputable VPN providers out there, and you should research them thoroughly before making a decision. It’s also important to find a provider that offers both strong security and an easily usable interface. Some of the best VPNs on the market provide an excellent blend of security and simplicity.
Install The VPN On One Device
When choosing a VPN, you need to take into consideration not just the strength of the encryption, but also how easy it is to use. If you’re unfamiliar with VPNs, it can be hard to know what level of security you’re actually providing your data. A great VPN should have a simple install which is similar to getting a WiFi password. From there, you should be able to use the service without any trouble. If you have other devices connected to the network, they should also be able to connect easily without having to jump through any hoops. Installing a VPN on one device is the simplest and most convenient way to ensure that all of your devices are always protected whenever you use them. You don’t need to worry about whether or not the device is connected to the internet, as the VPN will remain in effect whenever you are online or using a device on the network. This means that even if your home network is unsecured, the data will remain safe, shielded by the safety of the VPN. If you are running a dedicated device just for this purpose, it is highly recommended that you install the VPN on it. This will make it much simpler to connect all of your other devices to the network whenever you want to use them. It also means that if you lose this device, at least your other computers and phones will still be able to access the internet. Of course, your best defence against hackers and the occasional snooper is good old fashioned common sense – and lots of it!
Set Up A Home Network To Follow
Once you have a VPN set up on one device, the next step is to set up your home network. For this, you will need to connect one computer to the internet via WiFi, and then connect the other devices (laptops, mobile phones, tablets, etc.) to the first device via Ethernet cables or WiFi cables. You should then open up your WiFi router to allow other devices to connect to it. For additional security, you should look into getting a WiFi password protected router. Doing this will mean that even if someone does manage to get into the WiFi network, they will still need the password to access any other devices connected to it. This adds an additional layer of security and protection.
Connect Your School’s Wifi Network To The VPN
When connecting your school’s WiFi network to the VPN, you will need to put in the effort to ensure that all the devices which are connected to it are always protected. For this, you need to consult with your school’s IT department and they will be able to help you set it up correctly. From there, you should be able to use the WiFi network without any trouble. Just make sure that you don’t share the password for this network with anyone else, and ensure that all the devices which are connected to it follow the very same password rules. Using different passwords for each device can also help to enhance security. For example, if you have a laptop, a tablet, and a smartphone which you use to access the network, you can use different passwords for each of them. Having at least two passwords for each device will ensure that if one of them is compromised, the other one can be used to access the network.
By connecting your school’s WiFi network to a VPN, you ensure that all of your devices are always protected whenever you use them. Even if your home network is unsecured, the data will remain safe, shielded by the safety of the VPN.
Use Your Devices In The Way You Would Normally
While you are welcome to use your devices any way you would like, there are some things which you should avoid doing while connected to a VPN. For example, you should never open up unknown or insecure files or apps while connected to the network. Doing this could potentially put your devices at risk. It’s also generally a bad idea to use public WiFi when connected to a VPN. This is because even though the data travelling between devices is secure, hackers can still view what you’re doing online. If you have a dedicated WiFi network at home which you use solely for internet access, it’s best to connect to it via VPN.
These are just some of the things you should avoid while connected to a VPN. If you want to learn more about how to connect a school computer to a VPN, continue reading.