Recent developments in the world have pushed a lot of people to do remote work, and students/kids to use remote education systems. There's basically two groups of people now - those who are equipped to do remote, and those who are not for some reason.
Let's focus on a 'new' mode of education for a moment.
During a recent local surveys in Poland, teachers and parents in Warsaw alone have estimated a need for 20k+ extra laptops to be available for their kids/students in order for them to be studying at all! We also know about for example NHS in Wales need for 20k+ machines to be setup too.
There's couple of problems that have been identified:
- suddenly, number of laptops and tablets should equal number of kids in a household, as kids need an IT equipment piece each to attend daily classes
- the cost of this equipment is not trivial, especially with breaking supply chains around, availability of this equipment may be limited very soon
- even if you grab a new/used piece of equipment, initial setup is hard/not trivial - you need some knowledge to complete the install
- it's much harder to get local IT support now
While this all was already a problem in a pre-COVID-19 world, it has become really amplified when this virus stroke us.
In short: people are missing properly setup, cheap gear to continue their education.
Why is this even a problem ?
Well, just as we said, currently no end-to-end automated solution that works through the internet exists yet. Normally you need a fancy IT and complex setup to do tricks like that, especially with imaging multiple machines at the same time. No one has ever done a simple USB boot key + internet based install through a "I don't want to touch anything just give me a working thing" paradigm.
What it does
It's basically a very tiny USB key image that you download, then boot from and it installs your new OS with web browsers and anything you need to connect to your WiFi and remote access/conferecing/lecturing systems. That's all!
You start the whole process, wait for 45 minutes and you've a brand new installation, even on older and cheaper laptops. You should have enough there to comfortably use MS Teams, Google Classroom and similar.
- Build a downloadable USB image that works
- Grab some test laptops, see if the whole process works, repeat until it does.
- Write a simple PDF manual on how to image your own laptop + record a video of the whole process.
- Create a minimalistic website that collates all needed steps/information.
Just pop into #edu-laptop-installer room on hackathon's slack and say hello. We will need some help :)