How do you do....it? Thread, Boarding - IT provision for students? in Technical; We're going be taking on some boarders next year and I'm currently having discussions about the best way to accommodate ...
We're going be taking on some boarders next year and I'm currently having discussions about the best way to accommodate their IT requirements.
I'm keen on BYOD, with a separate VLAN linked to a VDSL line with OpenDNS web-filtering. (This would also server the residential staff quite nicely too).
It seems to me though that there are rumblings amongst some of the teaching staff responsible for the boarding house that they'd rather have School-provided IT equipment for the students as "they'll be less likely to get viruses that way, and won't be able to play games".
Now... my thoughts are that BYOD would encourage a greater sense of responsibility for the students (surely, part of what is going to turn them into well rounded adults), they'd be able to use their platform of choice for keeping in touch with their family (rather than us having to install every flavour of instant messenger/skypetypething/whatever) and the fact that they can play games is not necessarily a bad thing and I see that as being a pastoral issue rather than anything else.
Plus I envisage that the school-provided equipment wouldn't be loved and cherished... ;-)
I think you're right in thinking that what you choose should be able to serve the needs of whatever client devices they choose to bring laptop, ipad, phone etc.... and I'm sure the parents would rather that than have to pay for a different device.
There are members here that have boarders so I'm sure you'll get lots of good comments.
I don't think you can ignore BYOD with boarders.
We do both here, so we supply 8 computers locked down as per normal with network printing. Then we have our boarding house fully covered with 5 Unifi AP's. BYOD can access a guest wifi network which blocks access to our local subnets. Transparant proxied through our Smoothie.
In my experience, nearly every boarder has their own device and letting them use them is only right and proper I think. Supplying some of our own kit is a necessity too, as it allows those without a device access and also we have no method of external access to home folders as yet (Win Server 2012 Direct Access is on the projects list!).
May be worth considering some sort of "Internet Cafe" offering in addition to BYOD - on if there are boarders who may need/want access to communicate with family, etc, out of hours, but do not own a PC/laptop. Microsoft discontinued SteadyState but there are instructions on Technet for creating a setup which will revert to defaults on logoff/reboot which would minimise the support requirement.
That's exactly my plan - we're due to have a very small IT resource area in the Boarding House (with between 12 - 20 PCs) and an MFD.
Netman - I'm intrigued as to your Smoothie setup (we use it here too) - do you utilise a second NIC for the other subnet? That idea had crossed my mind...
As for file access, I've found a nice little webpart that sits in SharePoint (we use SLG2) that will allow access to students' home drives, and I've also been having a dabble with IPP for printing but I can't get it to work with authentication. (yet!)
Ergo - yep, familiar with SteadyState, and with the GPOs we currently use for our machines they practically are that solid now.
We do pretty much the same as Netman. A few networked PC's and a printer in each boarding house for communal use and then network sockets to each room for boarders to connect their own laptops to (will be rolling out a UniFi solution this year). The boarders are on a separate VLAN that has no access to our internal resources. Internet access is done through our Smoothwall with an SSL login page that authenticates them against AD for filtering/monitoring purposes.
The vast majority will own their own machines. Need to provide for those who don't, and also provide printing facilities. Good advice in this thread already on that. Might need to think hard about physical security of so many laptops, a really tempting target for an enterprising burglar.
You'll have very strong pressure for them to be able to email and Skype parents and family; we had very upset parents when they learned that Skype wasn't available.
If they are in school, it would make teaching/learning sense for them to have access to school resources and of course their own folders on their own machines.
Filtering of course, but worth thinking about how else they may be accessing the web via smartphones etc which you can't control, and therefore consider educational as well as technical approaches.
All of this needs talking through at length with boarding staff as well as academic management so that everyone knows and understands what the plans are and how they have been decided upon. Communicate the outcomes to parents, too!
Thanks for the input - much appreciated.
@Chris_ I like the idea of using the Smoothwall SSL page for authentication - that could work pretty well. I've not used that mechanism for authentication before - I'll have to have a play with it and see.
@Ketlane - hadn't got as far as considering the security aspects yet. Do you have boarders? How do you provide access to school resources and folders?
Each house has their own communal IT room with 15 desktops and a printer which the younger years use during prep (three hours each night apart from Sunday). Sixth form have their own room so use their own laptops for prep. Each boarder has a desk with a network socket with their own laptop which they log on to our SonicWall as themselves. They have different policies for prep time so they cannot access email or social media during prep but can until their bedtimes and the internet is cut off completely at 11pm. If they want to Skype then they are able to outside of prep time but we don't provide the equipment for them to be able to. The common rooms have a wireless access point for iPads and phones, this keeps them from staying in their rooms and being anti social.
They are on a separate VLAN for the internet but can also talk to our SAN so they can map a shortcut to their home drives on their laptops to pull work from. Each boarder must present their laptop to the IT Department so their MAC address can be added to the DHCP reservation (no leases). This allows only equipment we know about on to the network.
It sounds like this is a new venture for your school, if they plan on having the OFSTED boarding inspection to be able to get on the boarding school lists then you will get marked down if you go down the sole BYOD route. Make enough provision for a child who as an example has military parents where the school fee's are paid for by the military but they are unable to have the finances themselves to pay for a laptop for their child.
Make parents and senior managers very aware that no matter what you do and all the effort and money you put it to making sure your internet is locked down as much as you can they will come back from holidays with their own 3G mobile dongles, tether their laptops to their mobiles. I spent days dealing with a boarder who's mother phoned me to tell me her son was posting on Facebook at 2:00 am and saying our network is not what we said it was when really the mother had just bought her son a new iPhone which of course has unfiltered 24/7 internet access.
PM me or ask on here if you have any questions. I am the assistant housemaster of the boys boarding house so can probably give you any info you may need or need some examples of any bad IT related behaviour we have dealt with in the past.
Last edited by HMCTech; 4th October 2012 at 09:56 AM.
@AlexPilot - thanks for the info, that's very useful. I'm sure I'll come up with lots of questions so I may bug you via PM!
Yes, you're absolutely right - it's a new venture for us. I take it that we'd be marked down by OFSTED in regard to BYOD if we are unable to provide IT facilities to those students that need financial support? We have a lot of students who receive substantial bursaries so we would need to be able to provide equipment for them - we're currently discussing how we would do this.
I agree in regard to 3G mobiles and dongles, we've got to get parent buy-in so that they're discouraged from bringing this type of equipment.
I'm intrigued as to what bad IT behaviour you've seen - anything that can help us to avoid re-inventing the wheel would be very welcome!
Yes, provide IT facilities for pupils who do not have the means to own a personal device. You wont need to buy a laptop for those pupils. A pool of devices would work. How you would do this depends on your situation. If I was going to recommend a route to you I would suggest our approach of a room in the house which has as many desktops as suitable and have this a work only room which is supervised by the staff on duty. Then once prep is done they can retire to their own rooms and play games on their own laptops if they so wish or have one. If this is not possible then make the school IT room available for the boarders in the evenings or on certain evenings and have the duty staff cover this. Also involve your child protection officer or equivalent to discuss the social implications of pupils requiring financial support being bullied by those that perhaps have access to money. If you don't have this demographic then it's not so much of a problem. If you don't have experienced boarding staff to gain advice from then you will have to go in with the opinion of this is how we think it should be and then realise in a year that perhaps its not quite working out well and change.
In terms of bad behaviour I can talk to you privately if you so wish but they will become boarders and like any boarders in any school they will be BORED. Especially during the winter when going outside is cold and wet. It's not just IT, it will be all sorts of things they will get up to. This is not as big of an issue as it was 10 years ago when they had to create their own entertainment before the days of Playstation and DVD libraries. We still have in the housemasters rooms a half built missile that the boarders had built intending to shoot down the inspecting officers helicopter on AGI day.