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Hardware Thread, Laptop experience in Technical; Greetings, all. Just coming to the end of a trial of some laptops for teaching staff. Our plan is to ...
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    Laptop experience

    Greetings, all.

    Just coming to the end of a trial of some laptops for teaching staff. Our plan is to get staff to carry them from room to room using docking stations to connect to fixed hardware (network, projectors and the like). Proper docking stations, mind, rather than little USB jobs...

    I need to get some feedback from the staff involved in the trial but I wondered if anyone out there in EduGeek land had some pearls of wisdom over the use of laptops by teachers in school, as opposed to fixed desktops?

    All comments gratefully received - have a good weekend,

    Steve

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    I'd say avoid at all costs and get fixed desktops in each room instead. In my experience laptops travelling from room to room get damaged easier, are more difficult to repair and more costly, and generally are a pain.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    We used to have laptops but changed them all for desktops. Things where cheaper and much more reliable. Staff would forget laptops, break them, drop them. If they where sick we needed spares for supply staff etc. Things are much better now and we save a packet.

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    VeryPC_Colin_M's Avatar
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    Hi. Studies show that the TCO of laptops is much higher than desktops. I'm a fan of either in the right circumstances and only you can determine that. Let's hope for more input from edugeekers as this is a hot topic not only for staff use but also pupil use. Best, Col

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    As with others I'd steer clear.

    Unless you are working in a mandatory laptop for staff scheme. I'm sure you could buy 3 desktops for every 2 laptops with docking stations.

    I have found from personal experience, laptops get dropped, lost, stolen, coffee spilt over them, power supplies will get lost or forgotten, batteries will be likely to fail, will be miss-used by family members etc. etc

    Although SMT laying down and enforcing any use policies may lessen the lack of care that a few users seem to have.
    Last edited by Davit2005; 13th June 2014 at 08:04 PM.

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VeryPC_Colin_M View Post
    Hi. Studies show that the TCO of laptops is much higher than desktops. I'm a fan of either in the right circumstances and only you can determine that. Let's hope for more input from edugeekers as this is a hot topic not only for staff use but also pupil use. Best, Col
    Hey @VeryPC_Colin_M any links to particular papers regarding that?

    Thanks

    Ben

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    robjduk's Avatar
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    My Head likes the teachers having laptops because they are more likely to do work at home with them. Sadly my staff are a careless bunch and it costs on average a few hundred a month just to fix the things.

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    If it were me teachers have their own laptops fine but i'd have a desktop in every room anyway it saves grief with:

    Damaged cables
    Whiteboard not working
    Projector not working (dual screens not setup)
    Calibrating whiteboards
    MIS software updates

    Stuff like that with one desktop in each room for a teacher you can manage everything then lock the machine down so they can't break it. I've tried the docking thing before and it doesn't end well and also you've then got to make sure every laptop is identical or at least fully compatible, if one gets damaged beyond economical repair and then that model is EOL you're screwed.

    So definitely desktops imho

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    witch's Avatar
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    We have laptops- the argument being that the teacher must have a computer and may not have their own. Also, if they use their home computer they may put sensitive data on it.
    I buy ICT Directs stonking Lenovo i5 T410s. Reliable, affordable, built like bricks and last forever
    I have pointed out that remote access and fixed desktops might be a better idea but...

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    Zourous's Avatar
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    Just to balance things, we've had staff laptops for over 3 years now and have about 100 in total. I was dreading it, but we've only lost 2 whole laptops in that time. Yes there have been numerous repairs, but not as bad as I was expecting. The number one fault is probably usb ports getting busted, but I just break the port off and make them cope with the remaining ports. They have to lose 2 ports before I change a MB.

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    Zourous's Avatar
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    Also got so fed up of walking into classrooms and pressing windows key + P, so on the staff laptop image I put a shortcut to batch file on their desktop that forces the duplicate option. It helps reduce it a bit.

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    Had a busted network port because the plonker kept ramming the whiteboard USB cable into it

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    We use wall mounted Mac Minis and Logitech wireless keyboards (w/built in trackpad) in every room connected either to a Promethean IWB or a 70" TV with a wall plate controller for source and volume. We also use AirServer to provide AirPlay for iPads and Mac laptops (or Windows laptops running AirParrot). It gives us the best of both worlds so they can either use the school provided computer or AirPlay their own device to the screen.

    We started doing this 4 years ago because we had so many problems with Teachers either not being able to reliably figure out how to get the projectors to work with their laptops (setting wrong source, being in extended desktop when they wanted to mirror or vice versa, etc.) or they would damage the connectors (VGA/DVI and sound). It really got quite ridiculous. Now we have nearly zero support requests about the IWBs. We no longer have connectors being damaged, sources set incorrectly, or things otherwise being stuffed up.

    You could easily do the same thing using wall mounted NUCs or Mac Minis and using AirServer, Reflector, or Chromecast to also provide teachers the option to wirelessly mirror their device or application to the screen. A much better and more economical solution than laptops with docks in every room.

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    robjduk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bananas View Post
    Had a busted network port because the plonker kept ramming the whiteboard USB cable into it
    well at least its not like they are paid triple what we get though eh?

  15. Thanks to robjduk from:

    Bananas (14th June 2014)

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    witch's Avatar
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    TBF I get few laptop faults - it is just the cost of brand new ones that burns!

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