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How do you do....it? Thread, Replacing Classroom desktops with Teacher laptops in Technical; Having a had a look around, it seems to be a while since this topic came up, so I'll raise ...
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    Replacing Classroom desktops with Teacher laptops

    Having a had a look around, it seems to be a while since this topic came up, so I'll raise it for some fresh ideas if that's ok!

    We're currently thinking about removing our front of classroom desktops in favour of getting the teachers to use their laptops. To give you a bit of background, we need to reduce the number of PCs on site. A lot of the desktop machines are in need of a refresh so they seem ideal candidates for removal, rather than removing pupil PCs.

    Thoughts and questions so far include:

    - Wear and tear on laptops. Many of our teachers treat them as home machines, and the seldom make the trip to school. Will they stand up to the task?

    - Ideally we'd like to keep our staff on side on this one. Has anyone had experience of teacher reactions to an idea like this?

    - If you've done it, how did you solve cabling and power issues? Did you change anything to cope with the extra load on you wireless network, or even look at other wireless solutions?

    The general consensus a while back here seemed to be negative - has anyone changed their mind?

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    What you give you cant take back.

    i.e. I had some old laptops, now support staff wanted to have them but once I gave it to them and they break down they would expect replacements = more cost!

    Write a proposal to SLT and get it approved, thats what I do makes life easier.

    Wireless it depends whats in the area, if you expect 5 teachers in 1 AP area you should be ok easily

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    We gave up on this, too many teachers struggled with it.

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    Chockster (3rd June 2011)

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    Also teachers using them as home machines, when I was working at the council many staff got disciplined or sacked when they thought they could do what they wanted with the laptops. My department paid for them so its our property not the teachers and I like the teachers here alot! I would have same mindset anywhere I went. Someones council tax is being used so someone can prat around on the laptops.

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    Our main concerns when looking into this were - what happens if the teacher doesnt bring a laptop in one day, how will they complete registers around school or teach lessons which need a powerpoint etc. would we be expected to provide a laptop there and then from a stock cupboard??
    Our teachers move around school quite alot, is it therefore deemed ok for them to cart around a laptop all day, and setup in each different room etc?

    We decided it wasnt feasible in the end to perform such a rollout - although a large number of staff do have a laptop to perform work at home, but they are locked down so they cant install their own software or breach the AUP.

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    Things to think about... Laptops should be ona 3 year cycle, desktops on a 5 year cycle. If they take the laptop home, who is responsible for their home printer/wireless issues, What happens about damages in transit, What happens if the teacher doesn't have the laptop or a substitue is in the room?, Are your staff going to be able to handle docking issues?, Who will fund consumable items such as batteries?.

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    Honestly don't do it, your setting yourself up for no end of hassle.

    Teachers WILL want to use them as home machines. They will let their family use it. They will break them or have them stolen. That includes installing whatever they want.
    If they don't get it, they'll go crying to SMT about not being able to do their jobs and you will be overridden unless you have someone high up in SMT on your side. Remember, even if you do have that person now, they may leave and be replaced by someone who thinks differently.

    You will rarely see them or have chance to update them. Say you wanted to roll Windows 7 or whatever out over the holidays. Fat chance of that when most of the machines are offsite.
    You are opening yourself up to data protection issues as well, unless you encrypt them. But again, if a staff members family uses it then you've already lost.
    You'll also have to faff about with things like offline files and staff potentially losing a lot of data if it's not been sync'd in a while.

    As for thinks like power issues, you'll have to buy a ton of spare laptop chargers as people will "lose them" or "leave them at home" This can get pretty expensive as you replace laptops over the years, forcing you to keep different model PSUs in stock. You'll also have staff trailing power cables everywhere instead of the tidy arrangements you can do with desktops.
    Wireless is "fine" but it's a lot of extra work that you probably don't need for very little gain.

    Damage/wear and tear will be a major issue.eg, a new keyboard for a PC is around 5/10 max. A new Keyboard for our dell latitudes was more like 30/50. This will increase as they age.
    Likewise with Batteries, they'll age and no longer hold a charge. Replacing them all will cost a fortune.

    There is no reason whatsoever for a teacher today to have a laptop. Most of them are based in a single classroom all day long and aren't really mobile so they aren't required. The only time I see laptops making sense is if you have staff that go offsite a lot. In our case tho, we have a few rent laptops that can be booked out for a weekend or a day when a teacher goes off to a conference.
    We also have a remote access system that uses Java and RDP that even a 15 year old computer could manage so our staff can work from home (SSL explorer) I refuse to believe that even the poorest teacher could not afford even the most basic computer to access it.


    So no :P Don't do it! If you do it and hate it it will be a nightmare trying to revert it. It took us a few years just to get rid of the 25/30 staff laptops we had here.

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    Very few (infact its 2 out of a population of 60) of our teachers have desktops - its all laptops here. I think the key thing for us was being able to allow them to use them wherever they liked and in the very best possible way.
    As part of that when we switched to laptops only we also rolled out a very robust Aerohive Wireless network that way the teachers can use their machines alot more flexibly as a desktop.

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    Just under 2 years ago, a similar decision was made in my college.

    We bought 105 laptops, took back all the old stock of PCs, and SMT sat back thinking they'd pulled a rabbit out of the hat.

    At the time, my now-departed colleague suggested that this may be a bad idea....How prescient his views were!

    Trouble? You want trouble? How about a Lecturer who has had 3 different laptops in just over a year? How about the cupboard full of laptops with broken screens "Sorry, I dropped it" or even worse "Sorry, my son/daughter broke it"

    In the main, the laptop experiment is neither a failure or a success. Some get on well, others really struggle.

    Over the last 2 months, I've been running a project to standardise the rooms across campus, so they will all be to the same spec. This will include a dedicated PC for each room. AND the laptops will be coming back!

    I'd advise thinking very carefully before heading down that route.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrCheese View Post
    Honestly don't do it, your setting yourself up for no end of hassle.

    Teachers WILL want to use them as home machines. They will let their family use it. They will break them or have them stolen. That includes installing whatever they want.
    If they don't get it, they'll go crying to SMT about not being able to do their jobs and you will be overridden unless you have someone high up in SMT on your side. Remember, even if you do have that person now, they may leave and be replaced by someone who thinks differently.


    You will rarely see them or have chance to update them. Say you wanted to roll Windows 7 or whatever out over the holidays. Fat chance of that when most of the machines are offsite.
    You are opening yourself up to data protection issues as well, unless you encrypt them. But again, if a staff members family uses it then you've already lost.
    You'll also have to faff about with things like offline files and staff potentially losing a lot of data if it's not been sync'd in a while.

    As for thinks like power issues, you'll have to buy a ton of spare laptop chargers as people will "lose them" or "leave them at home" This can get pretty expensive as you replace laptops over the years, forcing you to keep different model PSUs in stock. You'll also have staff trailing power cables everywhere instead of the tidy arrangements you can do with desktops.
    Wireless is "fine" but it's a lot of extra work that you probably don't need for very little gain.

    Damage/wear and tear will be a major issue.eg, a new keyboard for a PC is around 5/10 max. A new Keyboard for our dell latitudes was more like 30/50. This will increase as they age.
    Likewise with Batteries, they'll age and no longer hold a charge. Replacing them all will cost a fortune.

    There is no reason whatsoever for a teacher today to have a laptop. Most of them are based in a single classroom all day long and aren't really mobile so they aren't required. The only time I see laptops making sense is if you have staff that go offsite a lot. In our case tho, we have a few rent laptops that can be booked out for a weekend or a day when a teacher goes off to a conference.
    We also have a remote access system that uses Java and RDP that even a 15 year old computer could manage so our staff can work from home (SSL explorer) I refuse to believe that even the poorest teacher could not afford even the most basic computer to access it.


    So no :P Don't do it! If you do it and hate it it will be a nightmare trying to revert it. It took us a few years just to get rid of the 25/30 staff laptops we had here.
    Well I m currently drawing up a proposal to encrypt the laptops with truecrypt due to a near miss, SLT will agree with this, if any SLT or senior team in any company private or not didnt agree with this then I would look at going else where! SLT and teachers know I have their best interests at heart and also the schools so if you write a good proposal there is no comeback.

    Also we will charge departments for neglect or laptop being stolen (depending on circumstances) and they sign this before they get a laptop, if they re not happy then tough (but they have always been happy because I have their best interests at heart) if they 'cant do their jobs' without these resources they re in the wrong job, I always try my best to provide the resources that I can but expect reasonable respect back.

    I also have them sign a form to say they need me to OK any software they ve installed and 99% of the time I will OK it but I ll be annoyed if they have but because myself and the teaching staff have a good understanding it doesnt happen period!

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    Also to add if you have to give them 'home use' on the laptops look at XEN CLIENT Citrix Systems Desktop virtualization, virtual desktops - Citrix XenClient though you need ot make sure the laptop can do client virtualisation and its free!

    Xen client allows you to have a 'home desktop' and a 'work desktop' so they can virus the hell out of the home desktop and it doesnt matter

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    We have moved back to Desktops in rooms: the main problem being that the cost of continually replacing Staff Laptops is so high. Desktops will last a minimum of 5 years to a Laptops 3, are cheaper and easier to repair - DrCheese got most of the points on why this is the case.

    We are moving to the rental system (it will take a few years) - A political decision was made that no existing Staff Laptops will be taken away from staff, but they will not be replaced. I'm not looking forward to the summer, when the roll out of Windows 7 means that 10 staff laptops do not meet the minimum requirements and are therefore defunct (I am not going to run a mixed environment - at the moment!).

    The existing laptops have now software installation rights at all (and I would encourage you to follow this policy - it saves no end of problems).

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    I also have them sign a form to say they need me to OK any software they ve installed and 99% of the time I will OK
    One big problem with letting staff install whenever they want is if you ever need to reinstall windows for whatever reason (new HD, upgrade etc) You'll get a load of hate from the user as they'll have to reinstall the apps for them.
    Not to mention you'll have to deal with staff putting personal files/photos on the laptops and the agro that would result if had to do the above. If they lost personal data on their home computer then that's their problem. If they lost personal data on a school provided laptop they'll hassle you. You may also see files that you wish you hadn't seen (Bank statements/Letters/Job apps/photos blah blah) that you can't unsee, stuff that people wouldn't put on a school desktop.

    You can beat them with usage agreements but they'll still go away unhappy and feeling hard done by.

    You also become home tech support, i.e laptop can't get on the Internet. It could be an ISP problem or a problem with their setup, but it doesn't matter, they'll expect you to deal with it.
    Last edited by DrCheese; 3rd June 2011 at 03:36 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrCheese View Post
    One big problem with letting staff install whenever they want is if you ever need to reinstall windows for whatever reason (new HD, upgrade etc) You'll get a load of hate from the user as they'll have to reinstall the apps for them.
    Not to mention you'll have to deal with staff putting personal files/photos on the laptops and the agro that would result if had to do the above. If they lost personal data on their home computer then that's their problem. If they lost personal data on a school provided laptop they'll hassle you. You may also see files that you wish you hadn't seen (Bank statements/Letters/Job apps/photos blah blah) that you can't unsee.

    You can beat them with usage agreements but they'll still go away unhappy and feeling hard done by.

    You also become home tech support, i.e laptop can't get on the Internet. It could be an ISP problem or a problem with their setup, but it doesn't matter, they'll expect you to deal with it.
    Well I have everything on a list, if it isnt approved then tough never had any complaints, both parties have to be fair to each other. Personal data should not be on a laptop owned by the school and I ve never had a issue with this either. If the school decide that they want all laptops on Monday so the school can put the laptops on a bonfire then that what will happen! the point is its the schools laptops and the teachers here know that.

    Never had any problems with Internet or printers form home but my job is for the laptops to work 100% within school

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    Our status is one or the other. In this environment I would have PC's installed at the desktop and if staff need to work from home install a Citrix or TS portal type solution.

    If I worked in a school I could only have those using a laptop who really would make use of it, i.e. a Head or Deputy or similar role.

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