Time to roll-out new Chromebook devices? Before setting your students loose with their devices, the Chromebooks must be enrolled into your school’s domain in order for administrative policies to be set and enforced. Fortunately, for those of you facing the task of mass enrollment, there are automated solutions available that will make the job easier.
Cheaper than your traditional outsourced “white glove service” where you pay a fortune for enrollment per device, current innovations allow you to still do it yourself—but with less of the hassle. These modern “white glove” solutions not only bypass the need to manually enroll each device, but are customizable and save your IT department valuable time too! Keep reading to learn about some Chromebook enrollment options that are at your disposal.
The USB Rubber Ducky
Would you believe me if I told you that it were possible to enroll all of your Chromebooks without touching the keyboard? Most, if not all, devices accept human input through keyboards and many would argue that typing is the most tedious (and sometimes painful!) part about enrolling devices.
To make your life easier, Hak5 has designed a USB Rubber Ducky. This device will mimic a keyboard’s input and can be programmed to automate your own keystrokes when plugged into a device.
In order to work, the Rubber Ducky must be encoded with a script that will emulate the keystrokes you use to enroll your device. Boasting a simple scripting language, no programming experience is necessary to write the script.
Lucky for you, since most Chromebooks are identical at the initial set up, school administrators have already shared their scripts online. This means all you have to do is copy their script into a text editing program, enter your school’s network and enrollment details, then encode and run your Rubber Ducky!
Note: It is important to remember that occasionally Chromebook’s arrive with an out-of-date OS. To resolve this, you may be required create a USB restore stick that will update the OS. Despite being an extra step, updating the OS means all students will have the up-to-date version from the beginning and you still save time on pushing out the updates later!Steps:
- Use a text editing program such as Sublime Text or Notepad to write your own script or personalize existing script that will enroll your devices. Save your script with the .txt extension.
- Encode the USB Rubber Ducky using the open-source duck encoder.
- Plug in the USB Rubber Ducky and watch the program run itself.
Advertised at around $9 per unit, the Centipede is a more cost effective solution compared to the Rubber Ducky, which is listed at just below $45, and operates in the same manner.
Designed and maintained by Amplified Labs, this solution includes free open source code but does require that you purchase an Arduino micro-controller for it to be installed on. Once installed, simply plugging in the Arduino will complete your keystrokes for you, enrolling your devices!
To keep the process simple, Amplified Labs provides you with step-by-step instructions and all essential starter code for the Centipede. Your script may then be personalized or modified using Arduino Create to achieve your desired results. Additional support is available from Amplified Labs’ comprehensive help center and Google Plus community page.Steps:
- Purchase the Arduino micro-controller (Amplified Labs recommends this device).
- Create an account on Arduino Create.
- Program your Centipede on Arduino Create.
- Plug your Arduino into the device using a micro-USB cable.
- Run Centipede to enroll each of your brand new Chromebooks!
Which One is Better?
The USB Rubber Ducky is an all-in-one solution that advertises itself as having a simple scripting language, which should make coding easy. Working out as inexpensive compared to the traditional "white glove" solution, the Rubber Ducky does cost more than the Centipede with less online support.
Designed specifically for the purpose of enrolling Chromebook devices, the Centipede also includes its own open source code that can be personalized. This may be better for those of you with little experience coding, especially as there are several websites aimed at providing support.
Both the USB Rubber Ducky and Centipede are cost effective methods that stop you from having to enroll each Chromebook one at a time. Because they use one script for all of the devices, they will also avoid any user error that may occur when manually typing in details. With these modern “white glove” solutions you can breathe a sigh of relief—and maybe even look forward to the process of mass enrollment!
Make Charging Your Devices More Cost-Effective, Too!
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