At the moment we are planning the process of upgrading to windows server 2008 + Win 7 and at the same time are looking to change the layout / hardware in the IT suite. I was hoping to get some ideas from other primary techs of how your it suite(s) are laid out.
We currently have 16 desktops but we are thinking of replacing these with our existing fizzbook laptops which have poor battery life so will be left plugged in then buying another set of netbooks for the classes to share
Put the teacher machine (and IWB, if you have one) by the door, then have all the machines with their screens facing the door. This will mean:
1. The teacher can see everybody's screen from his/her machine (during lessons) or from the door (during wet plays, for example).
2. The children have to turn away from their screens when being addressed by the teacher, so they can't fiddle the the mouse or keyboard.
3. Compared to U-shape layouts, where computer screens face each other, there is less potential for children to turn around and chat (across the middle of the 'U').
4. The children are not distracted by what is happening outside the door.
I agree with the principle of recycling older laptops as tethered desktops, but make sure they're well secured.
This really would be better as a thread on the forum boards. Mor epeople will see it.