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How do you do....it? Thread, Laptops for students in Technical; Just a note about how we deal with laptops at our school.. we have several laptop trollies where the students ...
  1. #31
    c13ggr's Avatar
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    Just a note about how we deal with laptops at our school..

    we have several laptop trollies where the students logon to the network with restricted desktops - this is now working fine technically (we have a wireless controller set using VLANs) - although, inevitably we have the 'keys falling off' scenario and a couple of broken screens. We have learnt to manage this by checking the trollies and laptops on a fortnightly basis for ANY damage - this is then recorded and any damages since last time are highlighted. It is very much down to the teachers concerned to manage the laptops and they get hassle from the SMT when things go wrong.

    We have now added another VLAN to separate 'guest' users to give them temporary access to the internet. We have also set up a group for students and teachers to use this entry too. This means that they can access their school work via the VLE without having to go via the school network.
    This VLAN uses a separate IP range so is in effect a VPN, but it does still have the filtered net so our students are 'safe'. No doubt we'll still have the access problems, but hopefully not too many, and also we don't have to get too hung up about anti-virus stuff.

    There's still a lot of hassles no doubt, but hopefully we are trying to work with the SMT (!!!) to both move in the right direction.

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    It amazes me why so many are so negative. You would think that we are discussing our own personal kit rather than something bought by the school to use with children (amazingly enough, schools are intended to work with children).

    If people need to moan so much either find a new job in a different sector or go and ask the head whether you are paid to give children the IT facilities to help them learn or just build your own toy system and stop them using it for anything useful.

    It's a fact that children and teachers find IT negative in schools where they "aren't allowed" to do things by the technician or network manager (who then prides themself on how well the system is locked down).

    For those who insist on continually complaining: get over it, grow up and get in the real world
    Last edited by hyden; 8th January 2009 at 02:29 PM.

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  4. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by hyden View Post
    It amazes me why so many are so negative. You would think that we are discussing our own personal kit rather than something bought by the school to use with children (amazingly enough, schools are intended to work with children).

    If people need to moan so much either find a new job in a different sector or go and ask the head whether you are paid to give children the IT facilities to help them learn or just build your own toy system and stop them using it for anything useful.

    It's a fact that children and teachers find IT negative in schools where they "aren't allowed" to do things by the technician or network manager (who then prides themself on how well the system is locked down).

    For those who insist on continually complaining: get over it, grow up and get in the real world
    Please take up your grievances with IT with your line manager

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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by tosh74 View Post
    Please take up your grievances with IT with your line manager
    I did...... and now I need to discuss his response with my dentist

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    Quote Originally Posted by hyden View Post
    It amazes me why so many are so negative. You would think that we are discussing our own personal kit rather than something bought by the school to use with children (amazingly enough, schools are intended to work with children).

    If people need to moan so much either find a new job in a different sector or go and ask the head whether you are paid to give children the IT facilities to help them learn or just build your own toy system and stop them using it for anything useful.

    It's a fact that children and teachers find IT negative in schools where they "aren't allowed" to do things by the technician or network manager (who then prides themself on how well the system is locked down).

    For those who insist on continually complaining: get over it, grow up and get in the real world
    I am almost - but not quite - lost for words at the contempt within this reply. Sounds exactly like some of the teachers where I work who despise anything being 'locked down' but would be the first to complain if a workstation wasn't available because a student had been able to misuse it. It's all about providing a system that can be managed and used by all, and the best way to manage it is to try and make sure it can't be misused, and not to have to devote hours of valuable tech support time mopping up after the inevitable spillage. They are not our 'toys'. Instead they are systems on which hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent and which we are responsible for, including keeping it stable and maintained. Not everything that teachers and students want to do is a good idea. It's not a question of putting up barriers. It's about doing the best job for ALL users and not just pandering to the next whim or knee-jerk indulgance.

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    CESIL's Avatar
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    Surely a laptop with a well thought out set of software apps and internet access will be a valuable learning tool for pupils whether it is locked down or not?

    The users should surely be spending time using the tool not trying to redesign/break it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hyden View Post
    It amazes me why so many are so negative. You would think that we are discussing our own personal kit rather than something bought by the school to use with children (amazingly enough, schools are intended to work with children).
    Possibly because we are keen on making sure that the kit is working for the children?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cadjs View Post
    Surely a laptop with a well thought out set of software apps and internet access will be a valuable learning tool for pupils whether it is locked down or not?

    The users should surely be spending time using the tool not trying to redesign/break it?
    Of course. But what you're describing is a perfect world, not the one I live and work in. We have a huge damage turnover on staff laptops, and having experienced it for myself, I know what it can be like when students get hold of them. Yes, ideally you'd have sound leadership, responsible parents, responsilbe students and technicians to spare - not to mention the costs of purchase and replacement - but how often do you get all those things? And where exactly is the evidence that it improves teaching and learning?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyJF View Post
    I am almost - but not quite - lost for words at the contempt within this reply. Sounds exactly like some of the teachers where I work who despise anything being 'locked down' but would be the first to complain if a workstation wasn't available because a student had been able to misuse it. It's all about providing a system that can be managed and used by all, and the best way to manage it is to try and make sure it can't be misused, and not to have to devote hours of valuable tech support time mopping up after the inevitable spillage. They are not our 'toys'. Instead they are systems on which hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent and which we are responsible for, including keeping it stable and maintained. Not everything that teachers and students want to do is a good idea. It's not a question of putting up barriers. It's about doing the best job for ALL users and not just pandering to the next whim or knee-jerk indulgance.
    You are quite right to pick up the degree of contempt for some of the previous posts in this thread where the implications are that IT support staff have the right to undermine strategic decisions. I fully agree with you in providing a system which can be managed and used by all. I would, however, be very surprised if you have not experienced those who do treat the school systems as their own personal fiefdom.

    At the end of the day, we are paid to put vision, strategy and policy into workable practice (for all involved) and to move forward. Where decisions have been made to put laptops into the hands of children, it should be a clear strategic decision taken to move learning forward. I consider it my job to ensure that this CAN and DOES happen in a rational and manageable way. If children can not benefit from our work, we might as well not bother.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    I'm actually being faced with monster yet again. The issue still hasn't been resolved here. 15 Laptops in Science may or may not need replacing. Science (we're a Science College) have money to burn.

    The existing laptops do everything they need away from the network - data collection, basic science programs (Multimedia Science, etc). But get complaints with network connections. Now new laptops are not going to solve the problem that WiFi sucks with a 15:1 connection ration and multiple AP in close proximity don't play nice.

    I get laptops for staff at around £350 each. If I was to agree to replacing the laptops (hell may freeze over first) we'd be spending £650 each on Ergo Hard Case Pro's. And I'd refuse point blank to ever guarantee a usable network connection for them.

    I'm standing my ground because laptops = problems for us technicians, laptops = problems for teachers, ultimately IMHO laptops = a poor learning experience for the kids.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyJF View Post
    And where exactly is the evidence that it improves teaching and learning?
    If there is no evidence that it improves teaching and learning, why do we have any IT in schools at all beyond the administrative tools?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyJF View Post
    We have a huge damage turnover on staff laptops
    That bugs me much more than kids damaging stuff. Th teachers are supposed to be responsible adults setting an example, but treat their equipment badly because they know that it will get replaced FOC. Why should they worry that their carelessness means less money to spend on the children?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeMarchand View Post
    That bugs me much more than kids damaging stuff. Th teachers are supposed to be responsible adults setting an example, but treat their equipment badly because they know that it will get replaced FOC. Why should they worry that their carelessness means less money to spend on the children?
    It also tends to set the climate for children's use of equipment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hyden View Post
    You are quite right to pick up the degree of contempt for some of the previous posts in this thread where the implications are that IT support staff have the right to undermine strategic decisions. I fully agree with you in providing a system which can be managed and used by all. I would, however, be very surprised if you have not experienced those who do treat the school systems as their own personal fiefdom.

    At the end of the day, we are paid to put vision, strategy and policy into workable practice (for all involved) and to move forward. Where decisions have been made to put laptops into the hands of children, it should be a clear strategic decision taken to move learning forward. I consider it my job to ensure that this CAN and DOES happen in a rational and manageable way. If children can not benefit from our work, we might as well not bother.
    I do understand what you mean. In my own position, I have to play Devil's Advocate, reigning in all the outlandish ideas and trying to make sure that the practical ones can be carried out and managed. It's not always a matter of undermining strategic decisions, more a question of advising as to whether or not those decisions are practical from a perspective that few teachers or even senior management have: an IT one. What appears to be undermining to some is just sound common sense to others once they have all the factors to hand.

    As for putting laptops in the hands of students: in an ideal world, why not if it can be justified and afforded? But could that money be better spent? Hard to judge unless the evidence that students with access do better than those without. Does it improve teaching and learning? Can it be managed and supported and, more importantly, can all of that be sustained?

    It's a tough call, and it's never really ours...senior managers always make those decisions in the end. I provide the pros and cons in relation to what can be achieved and how much it will cost, and even though it's not my money I hate wasting budget on fads and gloss over substance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyJF View Post
    It's a tough call, and it's never really ours...senior managers always make those decisions in the end. I provide the pros and cons in relation to what can be achieved and how much it will cost, and even though it's not my money I hate wasting budget on fads and gloss over substance.
    I couldn't agree more. You can only hope that those decisions are truly strategic and based on outcomes rather than an half formed idea picked up from some evangelisation at a conference.

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