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Network and Classroom Management Thread, Separate Logins Per Child Or Per Class? in Technical; Hey everyone, Firstly, I'm new in the ICT field, with only an 8 year old IT degree to fall back ...
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    Separate Logins Per Child Or Per Class?

    Hey everyone,

    Firstly, I'm new in the ICT field, with only an 8 year old IT degree to fall back on. I'm also learning Server 2008 from a VM at home, not perfect I know. So I'm just trying to find my feet on where to start at the school I'm working for. Yes, I realise their first port of call would be to employ someone who knows what they are doing, but I'm volunteering my time to try help where I can

    School Info:

    Junior, infants and nursery school
    600 children
    150 staff
    200+ laptops
    One ICT suite with around 40 PC's
    15+ Smart Boards
    Server running x64 Server 2008

    This school has had no previous ICT manager, just one technician, and as you can imagine the whole of IT is in a bit of a mess. Their only 'expertise' derives from a contractor who comes in when necessary to rebuild the server and sort out anything that the technician can't.


    My first question is where would you start? Nothing exists in terms of documentation, policies or otherwise, if I remember correctly this is the place to start. Any advice here?

    Next up are user groups. Currently all teachers have admin rights, and children use a classroom login. Apparently children did have separate logins last year but they kept forgetting their passwords (among other issues). I know this can't be right as the classroom shared folder is a mess and data is freely deleted or edited from each other's separate folder. Reading on here a little it seems some of you still have that issue lol. Do you guys have separate logins for the children, if so, what does your file structure look like? With this information, I can then talk to the contractor when he comes in and discuss the current/future setup.



    Right, I best get back to figuring out why power settings keep resetting for most of the computers. Try save them a few quid on electric if nothing else.

    Many thanks in advance for any help you could throw my way to an absolute beginner practically doing an ICT manager's job

    Steve.

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    I just realised there is a ICT Manager Learning thread. Apologies, please move if inappropriate. Thanks.

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    AngryTechnician's Avatar
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    We have class logins for Reception and Year 1. Year 2-4 have their own username, but a password that is shared by their year and that they cannot change. Year 5 upwards have their own username and password.

    It works very well for us and I would advocate something similar. The exact years you make the switch from one scheme to another will depend on your pupils' ability and the teachers willingness to persevere for the first few lessons where they have to adapt to remembering something new.

    My teachers do not have admin rights. When they did, they would regularly muck things up. However, restricting it isn't really practical unless they have full-time knowledgeable staff who can manage their admin requirements for them, and unless they accept that software that won't run without admin rights simply doesn't get used.
    Last edited by AngryTechnician; 22nd March 2011 at 06:01 PM.

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    Maaster (25th March 2011)

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    Quote Originally Posted by AngryTechnician View Post
    We have class logins for Reception and Year 1. Year 2-4 have their own username, but a password that is shared by their year and that they cannot change. Year 5 upwards have their own username and password.

    It works very well for us and I would advocate something similar. The exact years you make the switch from one scheme to another will depend on your pupils' ability and the teachers willingness to persevere for the first few lessons where they have to adapt to remembering something new.

    My teachers do not have admin rights. When they did, they would regularly muck things up. However, restricting it isn't really practical unless they have full-time knowledgeable staff who can manage their admin requirements for them, and unless they accept that software that won't run without admin rights simply doesn't get used.
    I agree with the ATs suggestion, my primarys I deal with get usernames per child and fixed passwords up to Year 5, onwards from that is not, at present, an issue as the move schools at Year 6.

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    Maaster (25th March 2011)

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    We have individual logins for every class from Reception to Year 6, but with small class sizes have the capacity to get the youngest to learn how to log on. As AT it's a class password until Year 5... Shhh , don't tell anyone, but this year the magic word for Reception is cat The children are usually pretty competant at logging in by their first Christmas.

    Staff admin rights have to go for you to achieve stability. Even I don't have admin rights on my regular login... Far too dangerous! I only login as domain admin if I really habe to!

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maaster View Post
    My first question is where would you start? Nothing exists in terms of documentation, policies or otherwise, if I remember correctly this is the place to start. Any advice here?
    When I started my current job I was in a similar situation. I think its important to start by understanding what you have already got before you start making changes (however tempting that is). Document how things currently work and you can prioritise what needs doing and create an action plan about fixing things. Good idea to share this with the school as well so they can see what's going on and how it will improve.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maaster View Post
    Next up are user groups. Currently all teachers have admin rights, and children use a classroom login. Apparently children did have separate logins last year but they kept forgetting their passwords (among other issues).
    I have three schools which, 2 of which have same approach:
    1+2) Children in FS have generic login with no password, yr1 and yr2 have own account but no pw and yr3+ have a year group password.
    3) Children have a generic 'pupil' account and then select their class from a splash screen, correct drive mapping to class folder is then made. I am looking to change this so at least each class has it own account.

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    I just have one pupil logon/computer no password but with an startup script that displays a splash screen like sparkeh where the children select which class they are in and the P: drive gets mapped to that folder.

    This prevents folders going missing between classes but not within a class (but it doesn't take long to search for say elliej and find where its been moved to)

    Only twice in 8 years have I had to go the backup to retrieve a pupils deleted folder.

    But the schools main problem is obviously a lack of coherent approach to their ICT support (technican - how may hours?/Contractor - how often and why do they have to keep rebuilding the server???? and now yourself (Part-time/unpaid self confessed newbie )

    But as we all know, the chances of the situation being sorted properly will be close to zero

    Anyway - back on with technicals.

    If you go with users having restricted logons then you will reduce risk of them "mucking things up" and reduce risk slightly of a bad virus whizzing round your network.

    But you will have an load of grief trying to get primary all your primary educational software to work properly and since there are no experts around most of the time - leave them as admin.
    regards

    Simon

    PS I gave up several decades ago on power saving - if you get it working - let me know how you did it - otherwise I wouldn't bother with it

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    Thank you guys. Some excellent advice and quick as well

    I realise I'm getting ahead of myself with the children's login, but I just couldn't fathom out why they reverted back to a class login. Some very helpful discussion points anyway.

    Just to answer a few questions from above:

    The contractor doesn't necessarily 'keep' rebuilding the server. Just when required such as in December when the school upgraded to Server 2008, then again in January when unknown issues arose. I don't have any other details unfortunately except that there is a new server being purchased because of hardware issues with the current on. I do know the contractor hasn't made a clean install, so all the current policies and settings were set in Server 2003. The contractor comes in for 2 hours per week but I haven't had chance to see him yet.

    The technician is full time but lacks any in-depth knowledge of a network, especially administration. For example, he had no idea there was supposed to be documentation and doesn't see a need for it. D'oh!

    I guess we (the school and I) start from the beginning, commencing with documenting. Baby steps and all that

    Well, I have most of the layer 1 diagram done so I best get back to it. In the now famous words of an Austrian......I'll be back!

    Cheers everyone.

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    witch's Avatar
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    If things are as dire as you say I dont think I would be starting with layer diagrams - I would be checking what software is on the network and seeing if I can find the licensing for it

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    Hey

    Licensing is all up to date as far as I can tell, the technician seems to understand that necessity. Sophos anti-virus is also up to date on all machines now (weirdly, or expectedly they update each client manually).

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    witch's Avatar
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    In that case sort out the updating from the server then you know that the machines are protected from someones virus-ridden memory stick. Just ring Sophos support and they will talk you through it - it is pretty straightforward.
    It's not unusual to have no network diagrams - I don't - I know what is where but I just don't have time on 3 hours a day to draw pictures or even run the various programs that will do it for me.
    What about inventory? Is that done? I use mine a lot as it tells me where things are and what they are called!

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    Afternoon y'all

    I know it seems mundane doing diagrams but having a visual representation of the network clears up a few things. For example, one classroom is entirely connected through a wireless access point. Also, half the laptops are set to one wireless AP, the other half are set to another. If someone wanders with a laptop it's common to lose connection. I didn't know that either.

    I've seen somewhere instructions on updating virus definitions via the server, but I'm prioritising that as low until I find my way around. It's good to know it's a fairly easy process. Thank you.

    No inventory take unfortunately. Another job added to the to-do list.

    You know, I can quite safely say this is one of the most helpful forums I've ever come across. Go ahead and pat yourselves on the back hehe

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    @maaster

    You initially said you were volunteering in the school. Are you a govenor or a parent or just someone who wandered in and fancied a challenge

    Does the head know your there

    Si

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    BTW If there are just a 2-3 computers in a class, its quite common to use an AP as the class switch - saves money and complexity.

    Also, Its not a completely daft idea to have half the laptops connecting to one AP and half to another as its a very simple way of reducing the workload on the APs.

    regards
    Simon

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    @Simon.

    It's my wife's fault. She mentioned there were IT issues at her school and could I come and have a quick look. Luckily (if that is the correct description) I'm self employed and currently contracts are sparse.

    It's good to know some of their setup is utilised elsewhere. Confirmation is a blessing in disguise

    Much appreciated as always

    Steve.

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