[GLLUG] Internet Utopias Survey

Christopher Hunter cehunter at gb-x.org
Sat Nov 23 15:49:53 UTC 2019

On 22/11/2019 20:16, Chris Bell via GLLUG wrote:
> On Friday, 22 November 2019 19:51:16 GMT John Winters via GLLUG wrote:
>> That rings a few bells.  I've written some FOSS software for schools,
>> but in my experience of dealing with school IT people their knowledge of
>> IT is generally slight to non-existent.  To make matters worse, there
>> are some big suppliers to schools who really prey on this deficiency.
>> They very much rely on schools having no-one capable of calling out
>> their bullshit.
> A friend was asked to set up a server and some desktop computers in a local
> junior school. The school had a contract with a major education "provider"
> which required their IT system to be provided and maintained only by that
> company, and the school was not allowed to access the system, so the new
> computers were to be a totally separate independent system and hidden from
> the contractor.
I've recently been in exactly that situation!  The school want to teach 
the basics of computing to 8 - 11 year-old children and purchased a 
boxful of Raspberry Pi 3B boards and cases for them. They also bought a 
boxful of power adaptors, and initially used their existing 
USB-connected keyboards and mice from their contractor-provided PCs.

I constructed a Raspbian image with a few educational extras for them, 
and taught the three teachers and the teaching assistants how to use 
"Etcher" to write the cards.  I also gave them a brief tutorial on 
getting the SBCs connected to the  wi-fi network.  All of them have 
joined their local LUG and this has given them more knowledge and 
abilities that they can pass on to their pupils.

I had to open up the school wi-fi network since the contractor had 
locked it down to only allow connection of "approved" machines (ie: the 
ones they'd supplied) and they charged £120 per machine (plus call-out 
charge) just to simply add an over-priced computer to the network!

Shortly after my changes, the contractor visited the school and 
fortunately didn't notice the changes to "their" routers (their 
"engineers" are of the "monkey see, monkey do" variety), but we decided 
that discretion was a good idea, and now the school has a second 
"pupils" wi-fi network!

The contractor-provided PCs are mostly gathering dust now.  The children 
really like having their "own" little computers and have taken to proper 
programming very quickly.  The original PC-based computer "education" 
was to have consisted fo lessons on using various MS "Office" packages - 
hardly a proper computer education!

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