Teachers: Networking PI's with PiNet

raspberrypi
arduino

#1

I am about to embark on a PI/Arduino adventure.
At this stage (ending further information), it looks like I am going to have a crack at using PiNet (http://pinet.org.uk/) using an old widows based server with a virtual Ubuntu machine. This system seems to have heaps of advantaged over a one card/one student policy and also comes with the need for me to now become some sort of admin as this work is not in scope for our standard IT folks.

Just wondering how others have gone with networking in a classroom environment and how they have managed to multPi (you heard that word first here).


#2

I’ve done things like this at holiday camps in Brisbane for several years, though not with Raspberry Pi. For a week at a time, use an old server and provide central login and all those classroom computer features kids have learned to expect, such as portability across the computers in the school, yet temporarily disconnected from the department network.

I’ve also helped a teacher in NSW set up a local Ubuntu server for a Moodle instance; at a time, and probably still, where central IT would not offer the service to teachers. If it isn’t in their approved playbook, you can’t get it.

Things I’ve had to worry about are;

  • backups,
  • having to be the person who can change forgotten passwords,
  • co-existence with another network, or stand entirely alone,
  • if the school networking equipment detects and raises alarms for unauthorised ethernet cable connections,

PiNet looks neat.

Being able to network boot your customised Raspberry Pi build should be a time saver; because then the students don’t have to do extra preparation steps.


#3

Thanks for the reply.
I see heaps of advantages to the PINet system. I hope to remove games etc from the software, add in a a few extras etc. and since I am learning as I go (and finding really interesting things along the way), the flexibility to give everyone a game for a lesson or two (to learn about coding of course!), then remove later, and not have to chase a minimum of 28 and possibly 90 SD cards for updates sounds good to me!
I still want to have student create peer networks, web servers, DNS etc. I cannot see why I can’t still do that with a distributed system.
The nightmare of managing a zillion cards will be replaced with the nightmare of becoming sysadmin!