Author Topic: Why I failed to "sell" Ubermix to my school  (Read 1469 times)

2cool4me4

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Why I failed to "sell" Ubermix to my school
« on: March 27, 2014, 12:42:51 PM »
You may remember me from yesteryear. I came asking for advice on what to tell my school's IT guy to convince him that Ubermix was better than Chrome OS (here). Now a new school year has started, I have a Chromebook sitting on my shelf charging, and I know what went wrong.

Here's what I tried to tell him:

1. Ubermix is easy to use and can easily be restored to factory without messing up personal files
2. Google Chrome can be installed to Ubermix and you gain all of the functionality of a Chromebook
3. The Ubuntu software library has loads of educational software

But that didn't work, and here I am today.

Ubermix needs a few things to be a viable competitor to a Chromebook to small schools: lockdown, remote app install, and snooping.

The Chromebooks make all of these tasks simple. First, lockdown. The school buys the Chromebooks, students sign in with their school's domain name, and they're locked in. Only a reset of Chrome OS can unlock them from the domain name. Students aren't able to sign in with any account other than a school account.

Next, snooping. The school account gives the admin the ability to see everything that happens on the Chromebook: Internet history, installed apps, etc. The admin can even disable Incognito mode so there's no way to browse the Internet privately on the device.

And finally, remote app install. All the admin needs to do is click a few buttons and a Chrome app can be broadcasted to the entire school.

If Ubermix can include all of these features stock, it will be more acceptable by most schools.

Cytochromec

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Re: Why I failed to "sell" Ubermix to my school
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2014, 03:54:30 PM »
Those are good points and the counter points are all about the direction of computer use. For example, snooping and lockdown are one approach to tech in education, while another is watchful trust and exploration.

Remote install is easy enough with the most basic bash script knowledge. I have no formal Linux training and am not even an official tech, and yet I can push out applications to our Ubermix netbooks. I did have to configure the .network-autostart file on the image before I install it on the student computers.

We have students using Chrombooks and students using Ubermix netbooks. Each solution has its strengths and weaknesses. When I am working with Chromebook students I am occasionally frustrated by the lack of installed apps like Audacity or Java enabed website don't work. When I am working with Ubermix students I am occasionally frustrated that a trackpad freezes and I have to have them restart (and we have spinning drives in our Ubermix netbooks, so it does take 60 seconds compared to the SSD 15 seconds).  I can say that they are both better options than iPads and Windows netbooks, so I am happy to have options.

Maybe you should ask your tech department if you can put your Chromebook in developer mode and then dual boot or use crouton to get a fully functional laptop. Ask permission and promise not to do any malicious networking hacking/monitoring.

http://www.webupd8.org/2013/12/install-ubuntu-on-your-chromebook-using.html
« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 03:58:38 PM by Cytochromec »

2cool4me4

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Re: Why I failed to "sell" Ubermix to my school
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2014, 04:36:09 PM »
Wow, it's been that long since I posted?

I understand where you're coming from, but the sad thing is that watchful trust and exploration requre work on the admin's part. The Chromebooks just make everything easy, from administration to evidence for punishment.