ChromeBooks to Replace Workstations?

Posted on 2012-09-10
Last Modified: 2012-09-17
I'm the Tech Director at a small School. I'm replacing someone that's previous Tech Plan involved purchesing over 200 ChromeBooks for 6-8th graders to take home with them. My concern is We only have 3 wireless access points in the school of course we would buy more. My other concern is the drastic change from workstations to ChromeBooks which are essentially all cloud based.

I'm trying to weigh my options. My thought was that upgrading our 2 computer labs with 60 leased HP's workstations, maybe laptops? Rather than purchase over 200 hundred Tablet computers that would be a drastic change for staff and students. Plus the Chromebooks would not be leased out.

Anyone with any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated, I'm sure I left out some details.

Question by:DMH1083
    LVL 15

    Accepted Solution

    The 3 access points would be severely overdriven with 200 users, b series AP's used to suggest running 9 users, g series were theorettically capable of 5 times that, and if you use theory mgt, then n series would suggest double that. Theories seldom play out in technology. I would suggest consulting the manufacturer of your AP's to find out what they suggest as a reasonable limit.
        As for the Chrome books, i would suggest they are more affordable and easier to maintain than the laptops, not to mention HP would be my very last choice for a computer.  The Chrome books have flash drives, which means no moving parts, which is the first downfall with all laptops, and the first to go. And with them being cloud based, you greatly reduce the risk of infections and thereby again lower the maintenance risk.

    Author Comment

    I can see that more reliable access points is something we obviously need and will get. My worry is being the only tech person in the school district with everything I am already doing. #1 I have 200 more laptops with owners now, kids by the way. That means I will have kids and staff coming to me aking me multiple questions which I just don't have time to answer.

    At Least if I get 60 new workstations with Win7 on them I can image them with my Gostserver all at once and they can last 3-5 years with a lisence. Our network if at least 10-15 years behind so is the staff with technology and curricullum. I want to at least get them to a modern setup network before I start on this new tablet thing thats happening. I still think that hardwired destops are the best and most reliable solution.
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    I'd suggest sticking with your current setup - using workstations in the labs.
    Sounds like you have some concerns that the chrome books will increase your support workload and wont last as long as the desktop PCs..
    How about a chrome book "pilot" program so buy maybe 10? of them, give them to a target group of students for a set period of time and document all the issues that come up so you'll then have a better idea of what the impact of buying 200 of them will be.
    LVL 14

    Expert Comment

    If you have not tried the chromebook yet, you need to do that before passing judgement.  If I was in your situation, I would much rather support 300 chromebooks than 60 windows PC's.  There really is nothing to support on the chromebook.  Nothing stored locally and with the management features you can manage everything from a central location.
    If they are not going mobile then the ChromeBox is less expensive and the option you want.
    Nothing to load or install.  No antivirus to worry about.  They can't do much in the way of games, so less of a worry there.
    For a school environment, you really should consider this.

    Author Comment

    Thank You,

    Dee, I really like your Pilot Program Idea. Its makes absolute sence to buy 5-10 of them that way we can see if this will work or not.

    SteveO, thanks for bringing up the fact that there is nothing to support on the chromebooks, and being able to manage everything from a central location would be pretty awesome. The only thing I am weary about is the students taking them home with them.


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