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Hardware Thread, Our Head Has Asked Me To Obtain Opinions From Edugeek On Laptops/Notebooks Etc. in Technical; We are about to make some choices on the subject of mobile computing and our Head has asked me to ...
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    DaveP's Avatar
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    Our Head Has Asked Me To Obtain Opinions From Edugeek On Laptops/Notebooks Etc.

    We are about to make some choices on the subject of mobile computing and our Head has asked me to get the opinion of Edugeek on the topic.

    My choice would be for something running Windows [for ease of integration into our network: We have Windows 7 on our network and so Windows 8.x would be a new adventure for us but I think we can cope with that without too much worry (I hope!)]

    Science and Music have some iPads that they use on our wireless network and Music also has some Macs that use our LAN to access The Internet but none of these have any sort of integration with AD.

    As I see it we can choose:

    Windows driven devices
    Android driven devices
    IOS driven devices

    What are you giving to your students/staff and what are your reasons. I think our Head wants to make the choice of a single type of device at this stage. Perhyaps we will expand what is offered later but the choice is for a single type of device at the moment.

    Many thanks.

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    We have a similar thing. iPads for all staff. iPads in Music and Science. Music love them, science not so sure although we also bought the Pasco science sensors which are brilliant. Staff are mixed. I need to refresh two laptop Trollies soon and equip a performing arts centre next year which will have a heap of multi use rooms so I am just looking at options.

    I have just bought a Dell Venue 11 Pro to see what I can do with it. You can buy a docking station so it works like a desktop and a keyboard dock so it acts like a laptop, so it could be a great option for a good all rounder that could be a tablet, desktop or laptop when required.

    Here's the thing. The apps on Windows 8.1 don't seem to be as good quality as the iPad and there certainly isn't the choice yet, but it is getting better.

    My opinion, I love the iPad and love the apps available, but I can't get past how hard they are to manage and how difficult they are to integrate to the network. The Windows 8 tablets seem to be work horses which are useful for your everyday admin and work etc while the iPad is about creativity and real work on it makes it hard work.

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    Surface Pro or Pro2 makes things easy - Windows environment, so manageable via AD - great tablet experience. Built in kick-stand so student's necks don't hurt, looking down at an iPad flat on a desk or needing a flip cover/stand seems so 1999.

    Samsung Chromebook with the management console is also another, much cheaper, way to go.

    iPad will be the most expensive route, I saw some articles recently they have a new management solution (to control/deploy apps and device policies), but have not personally played with it (yet)

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    3s-gtech's Avatar
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    We're giving a mix of device types, depending on requirements. While we've still had some palm-to-forehead moments (will our new iPads run this Flash based website which is a core resource?) it's working. Bay Trail based tablets will be my choice machine where generic 'tablets' are requested.

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    From a students point of view Surface 1/2 Pro are great fully integrated with AD you can just pick it up and get on with your work no hoop to be jumping and you can use all of the core resources from CAD in DT to specialist software for microscopes in SCI without 101 problems. In terms of management the teachers can see what the students are doing via Italc and check they stay on task and the IT team have allot less work managing the devices just one click to image the device and they're done. Also based on real world school experience the surfaces are stronger and more waterproof also pretty good at surviving diluted HCL

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    Our Head Has Asked Me To Obtain Opinions From Edugeek On Laptops/Notebooks Etc.

    What version of Windows are you running for your backend, 2003, 2008, 2008R2, 2012, or 2012R2 - particularly your AD infrastructure? If you aren't on 2012 or 2012R2 you would want to plan an upgrade before diving head first into Windows 8/8.1. Otherwise, you will be frustrated with your limited ability to configure and control the Windows 8/8.1 experience for your users (and your sanity would suffer). The Surface is a great bit of hardware, but expensive as you'll need the Pro version.

    If you want to stick with Windows 7, then the Samsung Ultrabooks are very nice. So, are several of the Lenovo units.

    I think Android is a rotten mess from a management standpoint. I would stay away from that except for BYOD where all that's needed is WiFi.

    iPads are cheaper than the Surface Pro and Ultrabooks (don't know where the comment from another post came from about iPads being the most expensive option). If you can wait to decide until iOS 7.1 has been released and you can test it, then you might find managing the iPads to be a piece of cake with MDM. That's if it ends up doing everything it's supposed to with the new features in 7.1

    In fact, my advice would be to test any unit that you are considering buying before making ANY recommendations. Recommending something from the marketing brochures, based on specs, or even word of mouth doesn't amount to a hill of beans if they end up not working as expected in YOUR environment for YOUR purposes. If a supplier won't provide a demo unit for you to test before placing a big order then look to another supplier. Try, then buy.

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    DaveP's Avatar
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    Server backend:

    Virtualised Windows Server 2012.

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    The more threads there are on this topic, the more coversations I enter into both here and with SLT, the more I research the possible options, the more convinced I am that the 1 device, and even worse the 1:1, model is flawed.

    I think you need to strike a balance between traditional bookable ICT suites, trolleys of laptops or netbooks, and iMac's for media/art/music. I think just providing these properly would be a significant part of most schools budget, and then you'd probably want to add in a decent managed WiFi service. At which point it seems more sensible to me to allow students to bring in their own tablet style devices (cheaper for the school and less politics) for ad-hoc in lesson internet research, e-mail, etc.

    You could try and go down the mythical 1 device route but I'm yet to see anything that doesn't come with one hinerent problem or another. Even running Windows 8.1 on something like a Stone Classmate Netbook isn't as plain sailing as we'd like. (CPU/Ram power for media/music/cad/etc, last Classmates we got wouldn't install Windows 8, availability of mobile apps on Windows 8 vs using traditional Windows programs on a touchscreen, etc).

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    It seems many of us are in the same boat - exploring the way to go on this. A member of my SMT decided that we would just leap in and buy a number of iPads for each faculty. Luckily I was able to stop the leap in the dark pointing out issues with storage of both devices and data etc. From my research through Edugeek (there are several similar threads to this dotted about the forum) I'm picking up that Surface Pro is probably the best way to go on a Windows Domain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
    What version of Windows are you running for your backend, 2003, 2008, 2008R2, 2012, or 2012R2 - particularly your AD infrastructure? If you aren't on 2012 or 2012R2 you would want to plan an upgrade before diving head first into Windows 8/8.1. Otherwise, you will be frustrated with your limited ability to configure and control the Windows 8/8.1 experience for your users (and your sanity would suffer). The Surface is a great bit of hardware, but expensive as you'll need the Pro version.

    If you want to stick with Windows 7, then the Samsung Ultrabooks are very nice. So, are several of the Lenovo units.

    I think Android is a rotten mess from a management standpoint. I would stay away from that except for BYOD where all that's needed is WiFi.

    iPads are cheaper than the Surface Pro and Ultrabooks (don't know where the comment from another post came from about iPads being the most expensive option). If you can wait to decide until iOS 7.1 has been released and you can test it, then you might find managing the iPads to be a piece of cake with MDM. That's if it ends up doing everything it's supposed to with the new features in 7.1

    In fact, my advice would be to test any unit that you are considering buying before making ANY recommendations. Recommending something from the marketing brochures, based on specs, or even word of mouth doesn't amount to a hill of beans if they end up not working as expected in YOUR environment for YOUR purposes. If a supplier won't provide a demo unit for you to test before placing a big order then look to another supplier. Try, then buy.
    Windows tablets, you can install Sims on them and more, you don't need to go Microsoft Surface route which actually the Surface Pro 1 is now retailing cheaper than an iPad (as seen on HUKD) at 429.99 and you get a lot of bang for that buck! But if you want an even cheaper option you have the Toshiba Encore which runs the same as the Surface Pro (Windows 8.1 Pro) though it's not as powerful, this never mattered in my opinion still handled casual useage very well these are 189, if you want a 10" go for the Asus ME400C Smart Tablet with the Atom, granted it's not the most powerful but very cheap and more than capable, I used photoshop and more on mine and it handled it fine.

    IOS devices are lovely (to look at) just don't try and treat them as a computer replacement like my management try to do, they are a 500 web browser and as soon as proxies get involved etc with online content you will experience an issue somewhere with at least one app. Never had this problem on a Windows tablet.

    Hope this helps!

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    I have to admit, after looking at this myself, I'd have to be looking at something like the Asus VivoTab Smart. Windows 8.1, tablet with keyboard attachment, not hugely powerful but that's the trade-off if you want it to last a day of working (the Surface Pro 2 is great, but its battery isn't going to last a full day of pupil use).

    The Surface Pro 2 is also 900g, so for a tablet is pretty heavy compared to the Asus at 580g.

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    There is way to little information here to give an sensible recommendation. The one thing I would commend him on trying to gain some uniformity. There has been too much hype around BYOD recently and too many apparently knowledgable people touting it as the future. What happens when you try to teach a class of 30 students on BYOD? You find out that the class has a mix of WIn7, Win8.1, IOS and 4 flavours of andriod? Anyway that's off topic.

    You need to audit the expectations of the users first.
    The teachers and students need a sound platform. Think about what level of security the school consider acceptable. If they need Securus say, then Andoid is out. If they need internet browsing at home to go through the schools filtering like Smoothwall offers through port-forwarding then IOS is out. What Apps are needed? How much human resource do you have to manage them? What do you need to connect to or Control (printers, scanners, IWB, Robots, data collectors, Musical instrments)? Purely use in school or at home too? Are built in Cameras a good thing or Bad? Will they be used for animation or used to record a teacher being ridiculed and then posting it on youtube?

    To be honest once you start asking your teachers and students what they need I think the answer will become very clear, very quickly. And the interesting part is that it it may well be different for each school.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexbillbridgnorth View Post
    IOS devices are lovely (to look at) just don't try and treat them as a computer replacement like my management try to do, they are a 500 web browser and as soon as proxies get involved etc with online content you will experience an issue somewhere with at least one app. Never had this problem on a Windows tablet.
    Don't equate the proxying issues that occur with the Smoothwall as the fault of iOS. Smoothwall proxying is not overly good IMO and seems to break many things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    I have to admit, after looking at this myself, I'd have to be looking at something like the Asus VivoTab Smart. Windows 8.1, tablet with keyboard attachment, not hugely powerful but that's the trade-off if you want it to last a day of working (the Surface Pro 2 is great, but its battery isn't going to last a full day of pupil use).

    The Surface Pro 2 is also 900g, so for a tablet is pretty heavy compared to the Asus at 580g.
    I've been using the Asus 510 myself. It's a great little device. It's won't replace my desktop but to have with me it's perfect. While away from my desk it's good for taking notes, internet research, Plugging into my switch's console via USB-Serial, checking email for new calls, running a spreadsheet or accessing our asset register online to Audit, update assets or track maintenance jobs, RDP to the servers.

    Every techie should have one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
    Don't equate the proxying issues that occur with the Smoothwall as the fault of iOS. Smoothwall proxying is not overly good IMO and seems to break many things.
    Don't assume that Smoothwall is the fault when iOS proxying is involved. Proxying and iOS is difficult to say the least. If you want authenticated proxying, its even more annoyingly difficult to set up. Plenty of apps will just complain regardless.

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