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Hardware Thread, Chromebook Usage in School - Opinions please! in Technical; Thought it was about time to post a little update to our experience with them. We already use Google Apps ...
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    Thought it was about time to post a little update to our experience with them.

    We already use Google Apps for Education so all user accounts where setup using that and the management side lets me deploy wifi and device settings. I have kept the settings very simple, wifi and not remembering previous users. The first day in the classroom we had various issues with the updating and loosing wifi or not connecting to google login screen without going through either a proxy or ssl logon screen for smoothwall. I tweaked smoothwall to allow the webpage it was trying to load without auth and this issue has now passed.

    Since that day i've not had a single call about the Chromebooks! They are being used daily for web resources and word processing at the moment and being used to view Espresso resources, although no built in mpg viewer which is no big deal at present. Compared to the Asus Eeepc's they had before the staff and students love them. Battery life is easily lasting what they want to use during a day, not 8 hours straight use though.

    If there are any specific questions i'll try to answer.

  2. Thanks to dave.81 from:

    pcstru (3rd May 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by dave.81 View Post
    Thought it was about time to post a little update to our experience with them.

    We already use Google Apps for Education so all user accounts where setup using that and the management side lets me deploy wifi and device settings. I have kept the settings very simple, wifi and not remembering previous users. The first day in the classroom we had various issues with the updating and loosing wifi or not connecting to google login screen without going through either a proxy or ssl logon screen for smoothwall. I tweaked smoothwall to allow the webpage it was trying to load without auth and this issue has now passed.

    Since that day i've not had a single call about the Chromebooks! They are being used daily for web resources and word processing at the moment and being used to view Espresso resources, although no built in mpg viewer which is no big deal at present. Compared to the Asus Eeepc's they had before the staff and students love them. Battery life is easily lasting what they want to use during a day, not 8 hours straight use though.

    If there are any specific questions i'll try to answer.
    How are you authenticating with the users through SW? Thats one of the things I am tetchy about, I cannot rely on the staff to note down who was using which laptop if some issue arises. Also which model did you go for? I heard the cheapy one was a little underpowered.

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    Use transparent proxy with SSL for our BYOD so use this on the Chromebooks too. Only whitelisted url is the google logon page, once they are logged in they are presented with the SW SSL auth page to get any further.

    We have the new Samsung model 303 if i remember off the top of my head.
    Last edited by dave.81; 3rd May 2013 at 03:35 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dave.81 View Post
    If there are any specific questions i'll try to answer.
    Thanks for sharing - esp the Smoothwall.

    How are you tackling printing?

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    We dont really have a need for printing from them at the moment but if they do emailing the teacher or saving to USB will do. We do have a printer on site that will work with the Google Cloud Print so if printing becomes high demand we'll use this printer for them to print direct.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dave.81 View Post
    I tweaked smoothwall to allow the webpage it was trying to load without auth and this issue has now passed.
    @dave.81 - can you provide detail of that change please?

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    It's much like iTunes trying to connect it's self to confirm internet connection, i've added gstatic.com/generate_204 and clients3.google.com to be accessible without auth. This allowed the Chromebooks to logon without having to worry about login to smoothwall. Once it has logged on and they attempt a google search they are then asked to auth using SSL.

  9. Thanks to dave.81 from:

    pcstru (24th May 2013)

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    just to throw my opinion out there. We have just ordered about 60 of the things after a brief trial. The teachers love them because they start so quick and the students love them because they are to the point. Google Docs works perfectly and in a 3 month trial, not one support call about them. Oddly enough, I'm not google's biggest fan but cant argue with the £210 laptop which works in seconds and is so easy to use and manage.

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    winng (28th April 2014)

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    Quote Originally Posted by dave.81 View Post
    It's much like iTunes trying to connect it's self to confirm internet connection, i've added gstatic.com/generate_204 and clients3.google.com to be accessible without auth. This allowed the Chromebooks to logon without having to worry about login to smoothwall. Once it has logged on and they attempt a google search they are then asked to auth using SSL.
    @dave.81 - again, thanks.

    Did you have any issues with the "allow proxies for shared networks" on the chrome settings. We seem to be unable to get to the smoothwall sign in without this being checked - but there is no central way to set it (or so it seems).

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    We dont set any settings on the Chromebook it's self just use the Management Console within our Google Apps Dashboard. I've just checked one and that box is untick with the wifi settings being deployed by the Dashboard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    @dave.81 - again, thanks.

    Did you have any issues with the "allow proxies for shared networks" on the chrome settings. We seem to be unable to get to the smoothwall sign in without this being checked - but there is no central way to set it (or so it seems).
    I've got a similar problem. The Chromebook needs a browser to auth with Ruckus and Smoothwall, but won't display the browser until it's signed in. It can't sign in because it can't auth with Smoothwall.

    We have BYOD set up so that browsers on devices auth with ruckus , then get forwarded to Smoothwall SSL. Chromebook will not display a browser until it's signed in so it's stuck.

    I can skip sign in and browse as guest, which makes it pretty useless.

    There must be a way round this.

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    Can't you do something funky.. Like allow access to google without auth, but then require it for everything else.. Which should allow you to log into the chrome book (and this give you an audit trail), but as soon as the user wandered off to another domain they would be required to authenticate to check they had the appropriate level of filtering?

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    I know that some of the older chrome books are now no longer supported, it seems they have a 3 year lifecycle. They'll still work but won't get updates..

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    We have about 90 chromebooks in the school now, and have just managed to get hold of the google management system which we are about to start rolling out to the chromebooks (will tell you what it's like as soon as we have the paperwork come through)... Can't really fault them too much really. We already use a google apps system through SmartAssess so all school users have accounts set up automatically. It's something you really do need a google account for though, as without it, it's just a glorified web browser. The other thing (which we are hoping the management system will fix) is having to manually tick the allow proxy box which is a touch annoying and they aren't hugely locked down. On the plus side though, they are super quick and can easily be reset if it all goes wrong!

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