birv2
Raspberry Pi Certified Educator
Raspberry Pi Certified Educator
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat May 16, 2015 2:07 pm

Backing up student work?

Fri Mar 18, 2016 7:51 pm

In planning for next year, I'm trying to come up with a solution for backing up student work. I teach middle school, and I am sure that stuff will get deleted, lost, we'll have hardware failures, voltage jolts, etc.

Here's what my setup will be: I'll have 15-20 Pi's in the classroom (generally about that many students per class) with 3 classes per day. I am thinking of leaving the SD cards in the Pi's and having a login system which will enable students to have their own home directories. That way, I should be able to set up a daily cron job which will automatically back up the home directories to an external hard drive connected to a Pi.

I got inspired by this article: https://opensource.com/life/16/3/turn-y ... kup-server.

There's likely some major obstacle I haven't thought of, so I'd appreciate any input. Has anyone wrestled with this topic?

Thanks in advance,
Bob Irving
Porter-Gaud School
Charleston, SC

fruitoftheloom
Posts: 20909
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:40 pm
Location: Delightful Dorset

Re: Backing up student work?

Fri Mar 18, 2016 7:59 pm

birv2 wrote:In planning for next year, I'm trying to come up with a solution for backing up student work. I teach middle school, and I am sure that stuff will get deleted, lost, we'll have hardware failures, voltage jolts, etc.

Here's what my setup will be: I'll have 15-20 Pi's in the classroom (generally about that many students per class) with 3 classes per day. I am thinking of leaving the SD cards in the Pi's and having a login system which will enable students to have their own home directories. That way, I should be able to set up a daily cron job which will automatically back up the home directories to an external hard drive connected to a Pi.

I got inspired by this article: https://opensource.com/life/16/3/turn-y ... kup-server.

There's likely some major obstacle I haven't thought of, so I'd appreciate any input. Has anyone wrestled with this topic?

Thanks in advance,
Bob Irving
Porter-Gaud School
Charleston, SC
PiNet Centralised user accounts and file storage system for a Raspberry Pi classroom.

http://pinet.org.uk
Retired disgracefully.....

birv2
Raspberry Pi Certified Educator
Raspberry Pi Certified Educator
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat May 16, 2015 2:07 pm

Re: Backing up student work?

Sun Mar 20, 2016 11:25 am

Thanks, and I will investigate it. The fact that it doesn't run on wireless might be a deal breaker for us.

MarcScott
Raspberry Pi Foundation Employee & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Foundation Employee & Forum Moderator
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:30 am

Re: Backing up student work?

Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:08 am

Have you looked into a version control system, like that offered by Git and GitHub?
I used to use it with my students to backup all their work (although git is not really a backup solution - it worked for me)
You can even use your own server if you use software like GitLab.

My main reason for using this was that it put the emphasis on backing up on the students, rather than on staff, which is teaching them good practice. As an added bonus, they get to explore the 'exciting' world of version control :)

birv2
Raspberry Pi Certified Educator
Raspberry Pi Certified Educator
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat May 16, 2015 2:07 pm

Re: Backing up student work?

Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:44 am

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll definitely look into GitLab.

Theoretically, I'm all for putting the responsibility for backing up work on the students. Practically...... not so sure. I'm just thinking about those tiny little SD cards in the hands of 12 year olds, and the possibilities for data loss..... Kind of scary!

Has anyone else worked this out? I'd love to hear what people have found that works for this age group.

Bob Irving
Porter-Gaud School
Charleston, SC

fruitoftheloom
Posts: 20909
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:40 pm
Location: Delightful Dorset

Re: Backing up student work?

Tue Mar 22, 2016 1:10 pm

birv2 wrote:Thanks, and I will investigate it. The fact that it doesn't run on wireless might be a deal breaker for us.
The Raspberry Pi PiNet Wireless was not implemented, see: http://pinet.org.uk/articles/faq.html
Retired disgracefully.....

User avatar
LetHopeItsSnowing
Posts: 357
Joined: Sat May 26, 2012 6:40 am
Location: UK
Contact: Website

Re: Backing up student work?

Tue Mar 22, 2016 1:31 pm

How would you backup data for your 'normal' computers? Can you re-use the same solution? If students have a network drive, why not just connect into that?
"am I getting slower, or is stuff more complicated; either way I now have to write it down - stuffaboutcode.com"

Gbaman
Posts: 155
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:43 pm

Re: Backing up student work?

Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:13 pm

fruitoftheloom wrote:
birv2 wrote:Thanks, and I will investigate it. The fact that it doesn't run on wireless might be a deal breaker for us.
The Raspberry Pi PiNet Wireless was not implemented, see: http://pinet.org.uk/articles/faq.html
Correct, PiNet does not support using wifi, it is simply far far far too slow.
It is though worth keeping in mind, PiNet is more than just backing up students work, any student can sit down at any Raspberry Pi, type in a single set of credentials and within 10-20 seconds, they are ready to go.

It also then does networking booting of all the Pis, so a single master image is maintained on the server machine and Pis boot off it each time. Meaning if you want to push out extra software or config changes etc, is super simple.
Plus of course, shared folders, importing users via CSV, Epoptes classroom management software integration plus decent bit more, all of which were directly requested by other educators.

It does though have the disadvantage that you need a wired Ethernet network in the classroom.
Lead developer of PiNet, a free and opensource centralised user accounts and file storage system for Raspberry Pi classrooms used in over 200 schools across the world.
http://pinet.org.uk

birv2
Raspberry Pi Certified Educator
Raspberry Pi Certified Educator
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat May 16, 2015 2:07 pm

Re: Backing up student work?

Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:48 pm

Thanks so much for the reply! What you offer is pretty great, and I love keeping an image on the server and using student accounts.

We'll go around it again, but the wired thing is tricky in a lab that is not set up for that......

Bob Irving
Porter-Gaud School
Charleston, SC

fruitoftheloom
Posts: 20909
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:40 pm
Location: Delightful Dorset

Re: Backing up student work?

Thu Mar 24, 2016 5:06 pm

birv2 wrote:Thanks so much for the reply! What you offer is pretty great, and I love keeping an image on the server and using student accounts.

We'll go around it again, but the wired thing is tricky in a lab that is not set up for that......

Bob Irving
Porter-Gaud School
Charleston, SC
viewtopic.php?f=63&t=141580#p937053
Retired disgracefully.....

Return to “Staffroom, classroom and projects”