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Blue Skies Thread, Teachers and Laptops in General; I think that you should provide the tools for the job unless those tools can reasonably be considered part of ...
  1. #46

    witch's Avatar
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    I think that you should provide the tools for the job unless those tools can reasonably be considered part of every day life now. I believe that we are at the point where you can state that a computer in the home is ALMOST a given - particularly for the sort of people who are teachers.
    The school is open until 6 every night and so teachers could stay and do all their work. They choose not to, then they have to provide the tools at home.
    After all, we don't provide phones for teachers, do we? And yet schools need to be able to contact their staff so you COULD say that therefore a phone is a necessary part of the job.
    I have just had to lend a teacher a monitor to attach to his laptop which went wrong on Friday - the invertor or something, as the display still shows on an external monitor - and I couldnt take it off him as he needed it over the weekend.
    I don't know what he thought I could do as I have no spare laptops of any description but his face when I walked in with a monitor and a VGA cable was a picture!
    This is a man with two teenage girls at grammar school, and he is telling me that he only has a very old XP reconditioned computer at home? I don't believe him.
    We are about to get new computers for the IT suite and FINALLY it is being mooted that we should put PCs in every classroom and sort out remote access.

    *no one have ever bought me so much as a screwdriver
    Last edited by witch; 19th May 2013 at 09:55 AM.

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    We are looking at a salary sacrifice scheme, like bike to work, to allow staff to purchase a device at a slightly cheaper rate and make a saving on tax. They will not be required to use the device for work but it will be encouraged. Though from our part it will likely require us to get an RDP system working so they can connect from the guest network.

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    We have always resisted teachers having laptops in the classroom and always had desktops. Teachers could cope with plugging in VGA etc each time they move classroom. They do have laptops which we never see again until they leave. These laptops are going to be withdrawn soon. As with most other posts we provide the tools for them to do their job at school in school time

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    As with most other posts we provide the tools for them to do their job at school in school time
    And how many teachers complete their work in school time at school?

    Lets be real here please - its not a 9-5 job and the work doesn't all take place in school - a lot takes place at home.

    If SLT don't want to supply a laptop - thats up to them

    They are just being cheapskates and un-professional

    Makes my blood boil!!!!!

    #witch
    if they don't supply a screwdriver - don't un-screw anything until they do i'm very suprised at you

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    As with a lot of these things I think it comes down to the balance. I must find myself agreeing with @SimpleSi that staff shouldn't be out of pocket on the tools they need to work unless it can be proven that (in this case) "a laptop" is just like "a pair of shoes" nowadays... and I don't think it can. Yes, there will be those teachers who have earned good money and are advanced in their careers... but there are also the NQTs who are recently out of Uni, still paying back debt, and not in a position to blow several hundred on a portable computing device out of a month's pay packet (yes, they could save, but there's so much else to save for at that stage of life!)...

    Having said that, I think either way the pitfall is around supplying laptops and then not replacing them in a timely manner. We have fallen into that trap here. Laptops were provided once, but some are so old that, to quote one member of staff, "I've lost the crank handle!"

    I think some Leadership Teams (and, dare I say it, perhaps some earlier incarnations of school IT departments as well!) have failed to perceive the true nature of this "single" capital purchase! It will come back again... and again... and again... for EVERY member of staff to whom you assign one... until the end of time. Or until "we decide" it's okay to say everyone's got one anyway so why bother?
    Last edited by Ephelyon; 20th May 2013 at 12:41 AM.

  6. #51
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    Provide remote access. Then the cost-concious can use a cheap budget computer at home and still do their work.

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    Clearly a lot of feelings on this one. I used to be a teacher, before giving it up to fix the things they break. As for 1265 hours mentioned, most teachers have timetabled classes and meetings etc that runs to 1230 hours or more. Leaving less than 1 hour a week spare. To plan an prepare lessons of good quality takes around 20-30 minutes per lesson, plus resource creation if not already available, usually around 50% of the lessons I taught. Netbooks, iPads etc are no good for this, as everything takes so long.
    Remote access is good, having used this for a couple of years in a previous school, it worked. But, and its a BIG BUT. It relies on the teacher having a good, solid internet connection with no bandwidth or volume restriction. I did a quick test one time using Citrix Xenapp on iPad, to create and send to print, a two paged worksheet. Total transmission was around 300Mbits, and peak speed was just over 10Mb/s. If you have some of the more budget ISP contracts, you'd kill your 5GB limit per month easily. There was a plan to support all in education with internet, but lacked funding and fell out of thought.
    It leaves the only real answer. Provide a portable device, or funds to help teachers buy one. I know that in my first years of teaching, i couldn't afford a computer at all. I had to rely on an ageing Pentium 75, with a massive 8Mb of RAM for the first 4 years.
    If you don't give them either remote access to use on their devices, with an aid for the ISP, or an actual fully fledged machine, then its like asking the cooks in the canteen to bring their own ingredients.
    As for the question of responsibility, you simply make it part of the AUP, and teacher contract that any damage deemed non accidental, or due to neglect of proper practice, must be paid for in full, by the teacher. Make them sign it, and then it's mostly out of your hands.
    Where i work, staff do not get provided with a laptop, but each classroom has a very quick pc, with office and all software they might need, plus 90% of the rooms have IWB, and all have projectors. There are also 3 machines in the staffroom for those who are out of their rooms. Seems to work well, but staff here only teach 30/45 lessons per week. Most UK teachers would teach the equivalent of 41/45 lessons.

  8. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by jallsop View Post
    Seems to work well, but staff here only teach 30/45 lessons per week. Most UK teachers would teach the equivalent of 41/45 lessons.
    Depends how long the lessons are. There are 25 lessons a week here and teachers get PPA which means that most teach 22 or less. They certainly don't have less than one hour a week to spare for planning etc. One staff meeting and one subject/year meeting a week doesn't fill all their time, given that the school is open until 6pm.
    As for not being able to afford a laptop - teachers start on 21000 and I am sure they could afford 300 out of that for a laptop. In fact, I think I can state that they would have been unable to do their teacher training year without one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjatkn View Post
    We are looking at a salary sacrifice scheme, like bike to work, to allow staff to purchase a device at a slightly cheaper rate and make a saving on tax. They will not be required to use the device for work but it will be encouraged. Though from our part it will likely require us to get an RDP system working so they can connect from the guest network.
    We will be looking at this too. What I wonder, having spent the last few years persuading teachers that we need to encrypt their laptops and remove their Admin rights to protect our Data Subjects, is how such a scheme can comply with those obligations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    Depends how long the lessons are. There are 25 lessons a week here and teachers get PPA which means that most teach 22 or less. They certainly don't have less than one hour a week to spare for planning etc. One staff meeting and one subject/year meeting a week doesn't fill all their time, given that the school is open until 6pm.
    As for not being able to afford a laptop - teachers start on 21000 and I am sure they could afford 300 out of that for a laptop. In fact, I think I can state that they would have been unable to do their teacher training year without one.
    Your staff have it lucky then. More and more schools seem to make their staff teach up to the 90% of the full timetable they are legally allowed to do. Some academies even break this, as they do not have to stick to the rules.
    21,000, then yes this the starting salary, but since you then fall into the paying back university fees bracket, and the Pension at the higher rate, then the 300 (Really very cheap laptop, with no office etc) is money you simply don't have. Especially when you're starting out in a new town or whatever. As for passing PGCE without one, remember, PGCE students don't teach as much as full time staff, so have more time in school to prep etc so they tend to hog the staffroom pcs. Some Unis even offer loan machines to help with the PGCE.
    As for schools being open to 6pm, You're lucky. I was forever being booted out at 4.30. The old "SMT have gone, so you shouldn't be here." It was forever a nightmare doing SIMS upgrades etc.
    I think its really important to invest in the staff, so that they feel empowered to deliver. The ability to bulk buy 100 laptops etc and licence through school has got to be more reasonable than just telling staff to buy one. At least if you provide, then you control, and you can be sure that everything in that machine is 100% above board.

  11. #56

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    mark it in the diaries
    Having said that, I think either way the pitfall is around supplying laptops and then not replacing them in a timely manner. We have fallen into that trap here. Laptops were provided once, but some are so old that, to quote one member of staff, "I've lost the crank handle!"

    I think some Leadership Teams (and, dare I say it, perhaps some earlier incarnations of school IT departments as well!) have failed to perceive the true nature of this "single" capital purchase! It will come back again... and again... and again... for EVERY member of staff to whom you assign one... until the end of time. Or until "we decide" it's okay to say everyone's got one anyway so why bother?
    on same hymn sheet

    Simon

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    We will be looking at this too. What I wonder, having spent the last few years persuading teachers that we need to encrypt their laptops and remove their Admin rights to protect our Data Subjects, is how such a scheme can comply with those obligations.
    Quite probably get everything web based like Google Docs or Office 365 or build an RDP system for everyone to remote into. At least the data would never really leave the building, restrictions on printing may need to be enforced and policy on not viewing sensitive data on screen in a cafe! That though is little different to having encrypted laptops out and about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    We will be looking at this too. What I wonder, having spent the last few years persuading teachers that we need to encrypt their laptops and remove their Admin rights to protect our Data Subjects, is how such a scheme can comply with those obligations.
    Remote access to a terminal server or VDI cluster. Our data never leaves our site(*).

    (* assuming people are also sticking by the rest of our policies on data... ahem!)

  14. Thanks to Roberto from:

    Ephelyon (22nd May 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roberto View Post
    Remote access to a terminal server or VDI cluster. Our data never leaves our site(*).
    As far as I can see, that is the (technical) solution and would allow us to demonstrate that we have taken (appropriate) steps to prevent accidental data loss. The problem is it's more expensive that just buying the laptops and giving them to staff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    As far as I can see, that is the (technical) solution and would allow us to demonstrate that we have taken (appropriate) steps to prevent accidental data loss. The problem is it's more expensive that just buying the laptops and giving them to staff.
    Yes it is. But if educators want to play on the grown up's golf course then they need to accept that they might have to pay grown up greens fees.

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