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General Chat Thread, Buy Your Own Computer in General; Hmmm, another great read from the BBC. Whatever will they think of next?! BBC News - Should employees buy their ...
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    Hightower's Avatar
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    Buy Your Own Computer

    Hmmm, another great read from the BBC. Whatever will they think of next?!

    BBC News - Should employees buy their own computers?

    Thoughts?

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    LeMarchand's Avatar
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    Most of the staff at my schools wouldn't consider buying their own mouse, let alone computer!

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    To some extent it's what we would like to do here, allow staff to use their own equipment. But as others know it isn't a simple task to do securely. Regarding the article, a good point is that having equipment at home for remote working does open the likelihood of family members accessing corporate data if the user doesn't log off! Then there's the support issue, no matter how much they talk about getting your own support contract we all know that it'll be the company IT dept who get the first call............

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    That's one argument, but to shine a different light look at it from the point of view of network manager/technician.

    100 members of staff, each buying their own computer. You are potentially looking at 100 different bits of kit that needs to be managed. It's not an easy job when all your machines are the same make/model/spec, let alone when you'd have 100 different makes/models/specs.

    EDIT:

    Then what happens when you get the '3 years from retiring teacher' who turns around and says he's not going to waste his hard-earned money on something that the school should provide? Does the school provide him with an old workstation? Does the school expect him not to use a computer for that last 3 years of his working life? Or does the school give in and buy him a new computer, with others to follow complaining of it not being a fair process?

    It's a can of worms in my opinion.
    Last edited by Hightower; 14th January 2011 at 10:05 AM.

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    teejay's Avatar
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    Interesting, basically they've moved the corporate environment onto a terminal services environment with web access to it and manage that, meaning the connecting device doesn't have to be to enterprise standard. Well, a lot of schools have been doing this for years
    I actually quite like the idea of being given a grant to buy your own equipment to use and to support it yourself.

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    jdoyle's Avatar
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    interesting idea. There would be issues but worth considering.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeMarchand View Post
    Most of the staff at my schools wouldn't consider buying their own mouse, let alone computer!
    Yup e.g. a very highly paid member of SLT who thought they should have a high spec PC in their infrequently used classroom & another in their office plus have a high spec laptop to leave at home all provided by the school!

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hightower View Post
    Should employees buy their own computers?
    Yes. Ideally, I'd have every classroom have a small (Acer Revo), fixed PC to drive a large front-of-classroom display. Each teacher would then have their own (school-owned) tablet device of some sort (quite liked the Fizzbook Spin), which could be used to wirelessly control the front-of-class display, doing away with the need for any IWB hardware. Each teacher would receive, say, £300 every 5 years to spend on home computer equipment. That's enough to buy a netbook or a basic desktop to hook up to the TV or a second-hand monitor, but they would be welcome to go and buy a new Mac and pay the difference if they wanted. They would also receive around £10 a month to pay for home broadband. Ideally, all needed functions could be carried out remotly via a web browser, but otherwise there would be VPN access to a TS server for those that needed it.

    The above should remove any need to carry any sort of computer equipment (USB stick or laptop) to or from school or use email as a filing cabinet. All that would be needed at home would be a computer of some sort capable of web browsing and, probably, a VPN / Remote Desktop connection. As a school I'd probably sell second-hand PCs to staff for £300 set up with a basic Linux distribution to do just that. I'd support home computer issues but for an hourly charge.

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    Hightower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Yes. Ideally, I'd have every classroom have a small (Acer Revo), fixed PC to drive a large front-of-classroom display. Each teacher would then have their own (school-owned) tablet device of some sort (quite liked the Fizzbook Spin), which could be used to wirelessly control the front-of-class display, doing away with the need for any IWB hardware. Each teacher would receive, say, £300 every 5 years to spend on home computer equipment. That's enough to buy a netbook or a basic desktop to hook up to the TV or a second-hand monitor, but they would be welcome to go and buy a new Mac and pay the difference if they wanted. They would also receive around £10 a month to pay for home broadband. Ideally, all needed functions could be carried out remotly via a web browser, but otherwise there would be VPN access to a TS server for those that needed it.

    The above should remove any need to carry any sort of computer equipment (USB stick or laptop) to or from school or use email as a filing cabinet. All that would be needed at home would be a computer of some sort capable of web browsing and, probably, a VPN / Remote Desktop connection. As a school I'd probably sell second-hand PCs to staff for £300 set up with a basic Linux distribution to do just that. I'd support home computer issues but for an hourly charge.

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    David Hicks
    You've basically said that staff should buy their own home machines - a lot of staff do that already, and a lot of what you said should be in place already happens. The post is about whether staff should have to buy their own PC for use at work.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hightower View Post
    The post is about whether staff should have to buy their own PC for use at work.
    Should teachers have to buy their own PC for use in school? Heavens, no. Should a school network be able to cope with external devices being brought in? Yes, of course. Put password-free wireless on its own VLAN (you could have a separate password-protected wireless VLAN if you wanted) for user's home devices. For the wired network, have a PXE-bootable Linux distribution available so anyone who wanted to could boot over PXE on their own device to use the school's standard setup (probably justlocal web browsing and a VPN connection to the TS server again).

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    David Hicks

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    Hey look, i have the latest computer, mine is better than your's. Come on, this will not work, people get a "clothing" and PPP allowance, asking them to buy a computer is taking the p.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Should teachers have to buy their own PC for use in school? Heavens, no. Should a school network be able to cope with external devices being brought in? Yes, of course. Put password-free wireless on its own VLAN (you could have a separate password-protected wireless VLAN if you wanted) for user's home devices. For the wired network, have a PXE-bootable Linux distribution available so anyone who wanted to could boot over PXE on their own device to use the school's standard setup (probably justlocal web browsing and a VPN connection to the TS server again).
    Should the IT team support these devices then? How does insurance work? There's a lot of questions to be asked. How do you deal with possible data leaks etc.

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    As with some of the people in the article, I'm not quite sure some have grasped what the companies are doing. They are basically virtualising their clients (TS or Citrix or another) and allowing people to use their own hardware to access the companies systems. The hardware is the users responsibility. They have to buy an appropriate support contract so I imagine insure it themselves as well.

    Someone on here mentioned a very similar thing not that long ago, allowing kids to bring their own laptops in, connect to a safe VPN'd wireless and use citrix to to all intents and purposes work the same as any other pupil. I really like the idea as it does open a world of possibilities to staff and students.

    Would it work in a school to the extent the companies have? Probably not. Would the theory work as an extension to what we all ready do? I think so.

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    In short no. If I need a computer to do my job I expect it to be provided by my work. I take this stance on anything. If I need it to do the job I am employed to do then I should be provided with the equipment to do this.

    Of course it cuts costs, you are making your staff pay for what the employeer should already be providing. If staff want to bring in additional equipment then that is a different matter, but to expect staff to bring in their own computer is crazy in my opinion. Would I be expected to bring in my own cleaning materials if I was a cleaner?

    I may have read this article wrong so would be please if someone can explain the point in a better way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hightower View Post
    Should the IT team support these devices then?
    No, the open wireless and wired points are a networking free-for-all. Teachers should have school-provided equipment to use, anyone who wants to connect their own device to the network is going to have to figure out how to do it themselves.

    How does insurance work?
    I imagine that would be for individuals to sort out, probably with their home insurance providor.

    How do you deal with possible data leaks etc.
    You access sensitive data via VPN and Terminal Services - no data wanders off on USB sticks or out of random printers, it all stays on a couple of central servers.

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