I am hoping someone active here might have some information for me, or have a contact that understands this.

Our K-2 school is receiving all new computers this year. The old computers ran windows on each station. The new computers will be pulling an image from the server each time they boot.

Our tech person informed one teacher of a multiage class that she can't put a network hub in like she had before, meaning she can't have all 9 computers from the two classrooms in one room. For their educational purposes, these teachers need this setup. Our tech person tends to make comments like this just for her own convenience, so I want to know if there is a technical reason that this new way of booting computers would prevent using a network hub in a classroom.

Any thoughts?

Jessica Steffel

Tags: network

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I've dabbled in networking and talked to my networking guru (we are Mac people though) and this makes no sense to me. I'm not even sure why it would be setup to grab an image each time it turns it on. The only reason I can think is, that they want a fresh image every single time it is used or restarted, so nothing gets corrupted, etc etc.

It really seems extreme to me. That being said, you can still use a hub it will just be slower, when u turn it on and it grabs that image. A simple solution would be, never to shut down the computer, or disable the shutdown/startup times.
They are using this system for 2 reasons. Mostly, it is to speed up the update process so they can just update a few images rather than go to all the computers in the building. Secondarily, it prevents our very young learners from altering anything major on the computers. It didn't seem to me that this should prevent using a hub, though. Thanks for your thoughts, David!
I have noticed that some IT people do not realize that their role in an educational environment is to provide teachers with the tools they require. Many like the feeling of ultimate control over the system. Allowing you to have your own class network, as I do, creates a piece of the world they can not control. In their defense, some administrations place safeguards as the responsibility of the IT people.
The fact remains anything can be done with computers but it would most likely require writing a program to specifically address your requests. Many IT people do not know how to code for this type application or just do not want to put in the work.
I would suggest to your administration that your classroom performance and student achievement may suffer this year. Spec what you need and let the IT people make it happen.
Bingo! Your first two sentences describe the climate in our building. If she makes everyone afraid of her, they leave her alone and they come to me. Her favorite line is "not my job."

I will talk to my principal. I mostly wanted to see if there was a way to make it happen so that we can use a hub. I don't really understand how the new image works or what the requirements are, and I've had a difficult time finding information online. I didn't want to go in telling them to make it happen if it really couldn't happen. Thanks for your response, Anthony!
The computer image may be many gigabytes, depending on how much software is part of the image. Doing this with a slow hub (10 Megabit/second) may be quite slow, but if you had a 100 Megabit hub or switch, it might be reasonable. I'm guessing that the computers are now each plugged into their own wall port which is probably a 100 Mb connection? So, the old hubs may be a bad solution, and perhaps buying new faster hubs or switches would work, but may be a budget problem?

Often, in the gulf between the network administrator and teachers there is a communication gap that we should strive to fill. I'm sure your network admin wants the computers to work well, and does not want end-users frustrated with slow start-up times. I'd try to find out from her more details about the hubs, budget, the size of the image, and the actual start-up times that would be experienced.

That being said, I do agree that the basis for decision-making needs to have students needs at its core, not the convenience of the technology department.
Thank you; I wasn't able to find any explanations like that in online searches. That does make sense to me. My principal is very grateful for the new computers and doesn't want to rock the boat by insisting on this right now, and sizes of files makes sense as a reason. I just hope it works out in the end. Thanks



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