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Hardware Thread, Laptops for Staff - Still a requirement? in Technical; Originally Posted by GrumbleDook I'm one of the people that will always fight for teachers (and other staff) to have ...
  1. #31

    witch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    I'm one of the people that will always fight for teachers (and other staff) to have laptops. In the same way that individual devices for students / pupils can be heavily tied into learning ... learning is personal so the device should be too ... you don't share exercise books do you? And so it is similar with laptops and teaching. Taking into account different ways different teachers will use the device why should we force them down a particular route?
    But as the laptops are corporately imaged with no admin rights, how does that allow the teachers to go down their own route? I don't understand your argument - surely using their own machine at home will allow far more personalisation of their computing experience. Also, money is a huge issue down at the sharp end. There isn't any. If teachers have access to the school's network with remote access and all that entails, why do they need a laptop too? I really can't see it.

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    Guys always an interesting debate as I sit here with 168 brand new RM notebook 310s lol.

  3. #33

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    But as the laptops are corporately imaged with no admin rights, how does that allow the teachers to go down their own route? I don't understand your argument - surely using their own machine at home will allow far more personalisation of their computing experience. Also, money is a huge issue down at the sharp end. There isn't any. If teachers have access to the school's network with remote access and all that entails, why do they need a laptop too? I really can't see it.
    Not everyone locks it down once it has been imaged. Not everyone takes the view that staff machines have to be corporate. It has risks, but also great benefits ...

  4. #34

    nephilim's Avatar
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    In one of my former establishments we started off on the laptops for teachers scheme with vigour, the teachers loved it, the IT staff loved it as they had the same spec machines, parts were easy to keep in stock.

    Machines started to fail so we went to BYOD, and that went badly, very very badly. Diff spec machines, IT staff were expected to do all repairs beyond warranty at the cost to the school even if damage was caused at home or by a child.

    We then did a consultation and said we would be doing 1 more round of Laptops for staff and after this we would be going to desktops in the machines, 40% of the staff wanted to go to desktops straight away but as they were not given the option we went with brand new Toshiba laptops. Less than 2 years after this staff complained that the laptops were slow and not any good. Desktops got installed and then staff complained they lacked portability. It was explained that staff have their own logins, a 32GB USB stick and the machines were hard wired straight to the core network rather than going through various switches (with the exception of 2 which were over 100m away).

    They loved the speed that came with them but hated that they could not personalise them and not "work from home in comfort" or "could not afford a PC / Laptop for home"...despite the fact that they all at some point asked us as IT staff to fix their home machines in return for beer/alcohol/payment. It didnt wash and home access was set up and yes there will always be complaints, but we had less issues with this than ever before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Not everyone locks it down once it has been imaged. Not everyone takes the view that staff machines have to be corporate. It has risks, but also great benefits ...
    Have to say I'm in that camp. All staff have their own laptops which are set up standalone with a local administrator account that mirrors their Domain account for access to shared drives and printers etc. All laptops are spec'd with 5 years of use in mind before replacement. Yes you get the odd "My iTunes...." requests or the odd Malware issue but this is much better than having staff asking you to install every piece of software they want to evaluate for use in lessons etc.

    In general it works very well.

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    We do the same.

    I'm actually looking at putting together a proposal to move away from laptops for teachers in favour of fixed PCs in the classroom. Would free up our wireless network for portable student devices, and would be backed up by a new remote access system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    In one of my former establishments we started off on the laptops for teachers scheme with vigour, the teachers loved it, the IT staff loved it as they had the same spec machines, parts were easy to keep in stock.

    Machines started to fail so we went to BYOD, and that went badly, very very badly. Diff spec machines, IT staff were expected to do all repairs beyond warranty at the cost to the school even if damage was caused at home or by a child.

    We then did a consultation and said we would be doing 1 more round of Laptops for staff and after this we would be going to desktops in the machines, 40% of the staff wanted to go to desktops straight away but as they were not given the option we went with brand new Toshiba laptops. Less than 2 years after this staff complained that the laptops were slow and not any good. Desktops got installed and then staff complained they lacked portability. It was explained that staff have their own logins, a 32GB USB stick and the machines were hard wired straight to the core network rather than going through various switches (with the exception of 2 which were over 100m away).

    They loved the speed that came with them but hated that they could not personalise them and not "work from home in comfort" or "could not afford a PC / Laptop for home"...despite the fact that they all at some point asked us as IT staff to fix their home machines in return for beer/alcohol/payment. It didnt wash and home access was set up and yes there will always be complaints, but we had less issues with this than ever before.
    I think this proves that to keep teachers happy we just need to buy them all a Laptop and a Desktop and a Mac and one for each of their children. they also need 3 phones (win,Apple,android) and a broadband connection. We should also employ a technician per teacher to act as a PA and write their lessons for them. They should also have a pay rise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andyturpie View Post
    Guys always an interesting debate as I sit here with 168 brand new RM notebook 310s lol.
    Andy, do you have these laptops built to a cc3 network?

  9. #39
    enjay's Avatar
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    This is a really interesting thread, as we are in the early stages of a consultation process to go the other way, i.e. remove desktop PCs from classrooms and issue laptops instead.

    All of SLT now have laptops to ease working at home, which they also find useful in SLT meetings (it was something we initially offered to one Deputy Head because their child-care arrangements meant he needed to work at home, but couldn't use the home computer because of the children (circular argument, really!). The increased use of computers, both in teaching and administration, means that the communal computers in the Staff Room are always being used, and however many more we put in there, they will still all be in use all the time. With that and the number of people who teach multiple subjects, we are in the position whereby we have more classroom/staff room/staff office computers than we do teaching staff. Also, some staff teach in shared classrooms, and if they had a laptop, they could get all their resources ready to go before the lesson rather than have to lose the first few minutes opening PowerPoints, e-books and so on.

    The issue we will have is that not everyone will want to have a laptop, yet in order for this to work, everyone must have one.

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    Another reason behind wanting to give staff a laptop is that we can encrypt the drives, so should someone steal their computer, the data on it is safe, unlike if they had their home computer stolen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    Another reason behind wanting to give staff a laptop is that we can encrypt the drives, so should someone steal their computer, the data on it is safe, unlike if they had their home computer stolen.
    we have encrypted usb pens for that reason. but also remote access so that they can work from home but the data is still on the school grounds.
    Alan

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    Quote Originally Posted by salan View Post
    we have encrypted usb pens for that reason.
    How do you ensure that they only use their encrypted one?

    Quote Originally Posted by salan View Post
    remote access so that they can work from home but the data is still on the school grounds.
    Unfortunately, our remote access requires them to download the files and work locally.

  13. #43

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    A few more things to throw in the pot which may not have been dimensioned but are more based on how schools might choose to operate when it comes to who teaches who and where.

    Some schools don't allocate dedicated classrooms to teachers. Instead you teach in the various available spaces, usually in a given department / subject area. This can mean that teacher desktop devices are not always appropriately set up for the member of staff that has to go in during a particular lessons. I have heard the argument that the locking of desktops causes problems for the next teacher in that room .. but in the same way classroom management and behaviour is a teacher issue, not a technical one, this is the same ... so I can't say that it is a valid argument ... only something to be aware of and educate users about.

    Laptops are also used as a recruitment incentive within some schools ... and whilst we know that this means they will be used at home as well, with education of the users we can make sure they are only used by the member of staff ... again a DPA awareness issue.

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    All our teachers, cover supervisors, TAs and assorted other based on need, have a laptop. All our registers are taken on the laptops, so they have to be brought in daily and problems are usual picked and fixed very quickly. The laptops are locked down, but we have a policy of allowing staff to request we put any legal software on their laptops. It is a compromise on the full freedom they (and we) would like and us not employing 20 technicians.

    We have a five year replacement program for all IT equipment and decisions had to be made about what we could afford to keep running. So desktops attached to projectors in the classroom were left to expire. We are just consulting on whether senior management/heads of year also require the desktop in their offices in addition to their laptops. And how much they are prepared to give me extra in the budget if they want to keep up that density of computing.

    Laptops are encrypted, so when they go home we have a measure of security for the data.

    Hadn't thought of it as a recruitment tool, must mention that to the senior team.

    All in all, staff having laptops has generally been seen as a success and a positive thing and they wouldn't go back (the question is raised every year). Has it improved outcomes for the students, the ultimate measure of a school initiative, I am not sure. All staff had laptops when we went into special measures, all staff had laptops when we became outstanding.

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