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Windows Thread, Help! overworked teacher/sysadmin in Technical; Thanks to everyone for your replies, was feeling a bit unloved (typical sysadmin feeling!) We only have 18 teachers in ...
  1. #16

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    Thanks to everyone for your replies, was feeling a bit unloved (typical sysadmin feeling!)
    We only have 18 teachers in our school of 500 pupils, none of them have admin access to their pcs. I am the only one installing software. Does anyone in this situation just give them install access along with a strong AUP warning them of the implications of installing software and asking them to look for approval first? i know it goes against best practice but if you don't have more IT staff then it might make sense. Otherwise you have to pay someone to come in and do it. I know a lot can be done with scripts and repackaging etc. but when you are a teacher and have a family you can't spend hours messing about with that stuff. I am worried about buying something like specops deploy as it may not work for all installs and because i might not have the time to set up the packages etc. I'm thinking it might be just better all round for me to take a step back and do what an ICT Post holder should do - like drive ICT in Education issues in the school and not be the IT guy/dogsbody. Outsource the support to an outside company. what do you guys think?thanks again.john

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    Personally I think it is better to hand it over to someone else. You can then get on with what you should be doing knowing you are doing a good job rather than doing 2 jobs half as good as it should be done.

    As for letting users install their own software, you will need to look at how good your staff are using computers and taking responsibility for their own equipment. If it is still only you on site who deals with the IT you will still be called when any problems occur. This could increase if users install random software which causes machines to run slow/crash, but if they are careful could allow you more time to get on with your teaching role. But I still think you would be better with a dedicated person looking after the computers while you were able to get on with teaching. I think the school would be getting better value for money having you do your job well with a Tech(part time if need be) maintaining the equipment used through the school.

  3. Thanks to penfold from:

    johnnyreb (28th September 2011)

  4. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyreb View Post
    Does anyone in this situation just give them install access along with a strong AUP warning them of the implications of installing software and asking them to look for approval first?
    No, they won't take it in properly and will wind up installing all sorts of random stuff that will just make for more maintainence. This is a problem that has a solution already sorted out: simply have an imaging system set up that also installs all your software. We use Fog with a post-imaging install script, lots of people here seem to like WPKG. It does take a bit of time to set up, so in your case hiring someone to come in and sort it out might be a good idea, although I'd go for making that a one-off cost for someone to come in, install apropriate systems and explain how it's all set up to you, then leave you to it rather than you having to pay a periodic maintainence fee. This might also need a bit of an initial cash outlay - there's no point trying to mess around with individual OEM-licensed machines if you want Windows on all your workstations, for instance, you're best off simply coughing up for the appropriate site-licensed software and getting on with it.

  5. Thanks to dhicks from:

    johnnyreb (28th September 2011)

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    Settings up a remote software installation environment is all well and good but they want to install their home printer, scanner and any other old toot they can download from the interwebs on to their laptops.

    Ben

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    We give our teaching staff local admin rights on their laptops and (touch wood) it causes very few issues here. Staff tend to ask before they install software and play the game. They see the benefits outweigh not having that access so tend to be very sensible.

    On another note it may be work approaching your local secondary school. We provide IT support for a number of primary schools which involved us visiting their site for a number of hours a week. Because we are not running it as a profit making venture we tend to be pretty cheap and impartial when offering purchasing advice. May be worth investigating in your area.

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    johnnyreb (28th September 2011)

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    A couple of things to deal with here ...

    Although the unions go ape at the idea of a teacher doing work that is not directly linked to T&L, and we have the 24 tasks to cater for this, the reality is that within many schools you will find staff do technical and administrative tasks. The idea is to keep this as minimal / efficient as possible so that they can get on with doing the job they are paid for and good at (not that I am saying some teaching staff in schools aren't good at being SysAdmins but ...)

    An ICT Co-ordinator does just that ... makes sure that the right kit, with the right software, is available to be used by staff and students ... makes sure that the kit can and will work and be looked after ... makes sure that other staff know how to make the most of it and gives hands-on support for the latter.

    This shouldn't stop them exploring and looking for new ideas, working closely and managing those providing support and, should they wish it themselves, getting their hands dirty looking after things as well.

    It is a leadership / management role (note that I didn't use manglement!) and so you need to think about how to make the best use of your time.

    It has already been suggested about getting additional support.

    I would suggest that you work on a routine maintenance schedule so that the simple things are covered (patches, AV updates, keyboard cleaning) and plan who will do each piece of work, that you sort out a process (with approx times) for deploying software to staff and pupil machines, that you have a refresh policy so you know when you are likely to need to replace equipment and software so that the time for this can be planned, and that you segregate the roles of developing / find new tools / resources and rolling them out to others (including training, etc).

  11. Thanks to GrumbleDook from:

    johnnyreb (28th September 2011)

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    thanks Penfold,you make a lot of sense, feel like I'm not doing either job to my best ability.
    QUOTE=penfold;732287]Personally I think it is better to hand it over to someone else. You can then get on with what you should be doing knowing you are doing a good job rather than doing 2 jobs half as good as it should be done.

    As for letting users install their own software, you will need to look at how good your staff are using computers and taking responsibility for their own equipment. If it is still only you on site who deals with the IT you will still be called when any problems occur. This could increase if users install random software which causes machines to run slow/crash, but if they are careful could allow you more time to get on with your teaching role. But I still think you would be better with a dedicated person looking after the computers while you were able to get on with teaching. I think the school would be getting better value for money having you do your job well with a Tech(part time if need be) maintaining the equipment used through the school.[/QUOTE]

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    dead right plexer,there is always software that you can't plan for and that it will be awkward to install.
    Quote Originally Posted by plexer View Post
    Settings up a remote software installation environment is all well and good but they want to install their home printer, scanner and any other old toot they can download from the interwebs on to their laptops.

    Ben

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    thanks David, I tried out wpkgbefore and had problems getting it working, was quicker to install the software rather than waste time and hope I would get it working.
    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    No, they won't take it in properly and will wind up installing all sorts of random stuff that will just make for more maintainence. This is a problem that has a solution already sorted out: simply have an imaging system set up that also installs all your software. We use Fog with a post-imaging install script, lots of people here seem to like WPKG. It does take a bit of time to set up, so in your case hiring someone to come in and sort it out might be a good idea, although I'd go for making that a one-off cost for someone to come in, install apropriate systems and explain how it's all set up to you, then leave you to it rather than you having to pay a periodic maintainence fee. This might also need a bit of an initial cash outlay - there's no point trying to mess around with individual OEM-licensed machines if you want Windows on all your workstations, for instance, you're best off simply coughing up for the appropriate site-licensed software and getting on with it.

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    thanks grumbledook,I would prefer to be doing more strategic work. I have a lot of thinking to do...
    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    A couple of things to deal with here ...

    Although the unions go ape at the idea of a teacher doing work that is not directly linked to T&L, and we have the 24 tasks to cater for this, the reality is that within many schools you will find staff do technical and administrative tasks. The idea is to keep this as minimal / efficient as possible so that they can get on with doing the job they are paid for and good at (not that I am saying some teaching staff in schools aren't good at being SysAdmins but ...)

    An ICT Co-ordinator does just that ... makes sure that the right kit, with the right software, is available to be used by staff and students ... makes sure that the kit can and will work and be looked after ... makes sure that other staff know how to make the most of it and gives hands-on support for the latter.

    This shouldn't stop them exploring and looking for new ideas, working closely and managing those providing support and, should they wish it themselves, getting their hands dirty looking after things as well.

    It is a leadership / management role (note that I didn't use manglement!) and so you need to think about how to make the best use of your time.

    It has already been suggested about getting additional support.

    I would suggest that you work on a routine maintenance schedule so that the simple things are covered (patches, AV updates, keyboard cleaning) and plan who will do each piece of work, that you sort out a process (with approx times) for deploying software to staff and pupil machines, that you have a refresh policy so you know when you are likely to need to replace equipment and software so that the time for this can be planned, and that you segregate the roles of developing / find new tools / resources and rolling them out to others (including training, etc).

  16. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyreb View Post
    thanks grumbledook,I would prefer to be doing more strategic work. I have a lot of thinking to do...
    If you fancy a chat with a few others in similar positions I can point you to a few folk on twitter.

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    Great maybe you could pass me in those details. Thanks. John
    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    If you fancy a chat with a few others in similar positions I can point you to a few folk on twitter.

  18. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyreb View Post
    I tried out wpkgbefore and had problems getting it working, was quicker to install the software rather than waste time and hope I would get it working.
    If you don't have time to figure stuff out yourself then you should hire someone in to sort out your system for you, but I'd aim to get someone in as a one-off event to set you up with a working network - it sounds like you can run a working networking yourself, you just don't have the time to mess around configuring things. Hiring someone full or part time will just result in the teaching staff finding more problems for them to fix - better to spend your money on making sure you have up-to-date equipment and some expertise to get it working rather than hiring someone to run around trying to patch together years old kit.

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    We have tight policies for staff but an area on the network where exe's are allowed to run from which only technicians can copy files to. You may need to grant elevated privileges to staff for exe's but that is better then chucking them full admin rights.

    Good luck!

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    I'm surprised you are the only IT Bod in a school with so many pupils. I do a similar job to you in a 400 primary, and I spent a year fire fighting, and this summer made it very clear to my boss that I couldn't carry on the way things were working - my IT Teaching was suffering and getting worse because of the constant nagging / crying / interupting from staff. I made it clear to the Head that he employed a teacher FIRST, and if he wanted an IT Technician then we'd have to make significant changes to what was taught - that brought him on side.

    This summer we did a massive re-install, I'm now volume licensed and we have a tech support company who come in twice a week. I actually spend my non-teaching times preparing lessons.

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