Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Preparing Devices for One-to-One

This summer we took a step forward in our one-to-one program by welcoming 150 Dell 2120 netbooks to our 6th Grade Campus. As last years 6th graders take their 2110 models with them to the 7th grade, we now have over 300 devices that we have to prep for the new school year. We went back and forth trying to find a convenient and efficient way to manage these devices especially as we continue our program through middle school and eventually through high school.

The Technology Department along with Dan Verwolf, our previous Network Admin, sat down and discussed some possibilities and we came up with the perfect solution. We decided to use Linux Ubuntu as our main source for deployment. We figured we will start deploying this build on all of our incoming netbooks.

We made the decision to go with a open sourced Linux operating system rather than a Windows OS for many different reasons. We feel that this solution would save money for the district in the long run which will allow us to purchase more sturdy and reliable devices. We also feel that the web resources that we have available for the district will allow us to work in the cloud and not rely on software applications. We also feel that our Technology Integration Support and Professional Development led by Sarah Wood was more than adequate to support our needs.

The issue that we ran into was how we would efficiently deploy this build to the lot of netbooks. We tried many different options until we came across Ubermix. Ubermix is based off of the Linux Ubuntu operating system, but comes with a mix of user applications that are effective for school use. Jim Klein, Director of Information Services and Technology for the Saugus Union School District in California and his team are responsible for this wonderful solution to our deployment problem. Their SWATTEC program has inspired us to use Ubermix and I can personally attest to the effectiveness and quality that this build brings to our program.

In less than 5 hours, Melissa Gill (6th Grade Teacher) and myself inventoried 150 netbooks and imaged 330 devices with 15 usb flash drives. This has certainly been the quickest and most efficient deployment we have had. Not to mention the clean and easily customize-able look the dashboard has. We sincerely offer Jim Klein our thanks and appreciation for his continued efforts to bring quality technology into our classrooms.

Please feel free to read more about Jim and Saugus Union School Districts work.

~Dan Townsend
District Technology Coordinator


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