CDW Amplified for Education’s consulting team has helped thousands of districts plan and execute their Google Apps for EDU and Chromebook rollouts. And while our districts unanimously applaud the Chromebook’s centralized cloud-based management and OS update model, unboxing and individually enrolling thousands of Chromebooks still takes district IT teams many hours of manual keystrokes and foot-shuffling as the devices sync-to-momma. This is time that would be better spent on more important tasks!
Centipede was inspired by several enterprising districts’ use of the USB Rubber Ducky -- a microcontroller-based script-runner that can mimic the sequence of keystroke commands needed to enroll a Chromebook -- potentially allowing a single person to perform many more enrollments per hour during a large unboxing party. The only problem is a Rubber Ducky costs $45 US, so arming the IT team with multiple such devices becomes rather expensive. Our goal was to mimic the same functionality on a MUCH cheaper device that might also serve as the starter-kit for an open-device platform unit in your school’s maker-space. Enter the Arduino Pro Micro!
The Centipede solution
Centipede is a free, self-serve* solution supported by Amplified Labs that packages an inexpensive microcontroller with a step-by-step instruction guide and all necessary starter code. With the physical device and the Codebender Chrome App, you can program the device to use your own settings for WiFi and enrollment credentials, and it will enroll a device for you. The device acts exactly if it were a keyboard, executing programmed commands.
*Schools that purchase CDW Amplified for Education support hours are more than welcome to engage with our expert team for a session on how to use Centipede. Otherwise please use our support forum when you have questions regarding this solution.