Over the years, the items needed for technology for students has changed drastically. Once, it was necessary to have a complicated network with multiple servers controlling carefully-scripted student logins and containing the storage of student data.
Today, almost all of these needs have changed. With the “cloud,” you no longer need servers to maintain logins or to store data. In fact, you can run an entire school with NO servers. You will need a DHCP server, but that can just be an old computer that you run DHCP on. Your firewall and/or web filter can be web-based or can run from an appliance that is connected to your network. If you use Google Apps for Education, then all students logins and data are stored there.
The most important technology need for schools today is the broadband and wireless infrastructure. You should be spending your technology money on those items instead of servers.
Some schools will finally admit that this is fine for the students but that you sill need servers, logins, and data storage for the faculty and staff. Maybe you do; maybe you don’t. In all probability, you don’t.
Whether the faculty and staff are running Windows computers, Mac computers, or Chromebooks, they really don’t need local network logins or data storage.
In the case of Windows or Mac computers, Just set up each computer with its own login(s) and set up either Google Drive or Dropbox on the local computer for all the data files. Those files will then automatically sync to the cloud and to other devices they choose.
In the case of Chromebooks, they will automatically set up to use the cloud for logins and data storage anyway.
If you have applications that must be installed on the computer, then use either Windows or Mac computers. If you have databases that must be run locally on a server, then replace the database with one that is located in the cloud. It’s much more secure and is “up” far more often.
In case you still wonder if all of this right, consider this scenario. A guest brings a laptop to your campus. All they need to be able to work is a password to your WiFi and connection to a DHCP server. They don’t need a local network login, they don’t need network storage, and they don’t need anything installed on the school’s network. They just need an IP number and connection to the WiFi.
Why should it be any different for your students or faculty or staff? Each computer on campus at any time should operate just like any guest computer brought onto campus. And it doesn’t really matter whether each computer is a Windows-based computer, a Mac-based computer, or a Chromebook.
Please give this some serious thought, and let us help you have technology money available for other purposes.
I grew up in Martin (Tennessee) and have lived in Denver (Colorado), Greenville (South Carolina), and now mostly in the Fort Worth (Texas) area since 1981. I have worked with churches and Christian schools most of my life and am the founder of and a consultant with PS Tech Group. My dedication is Success through Technology.