May 21, 2019 | San Antonio, Texas
“We’re more than a school. Somos familia.” That’s the message James Bonham Academy demonstrates through active engagement of parents and the community in supporting student learning and development. The multicultural, multilingual K-8 school is a part of the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD).
Recognizing that education is not a “one size fits all” package, SAISD offers more choices than any other district in the area for students to pursue special interests and career goals. One extracurricular offering growing in popularity at Bonham Academy is their volunteer-run robotics program. Preschool-age through 8th grade students participate in the construction, operation and use of robots and the computer systems that control them.
Educators all over the nation are working to inspire students with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs like Bonham Academy’s robotics club, and as more and more of them are deployed, new lessons and best practices emerge.
In order to operate a successful robotics program, schools first need accessible, fully charged tech for their students. As a result, “mobile STEM labs” are a new concept quickly catching on as a cost-effective, sharable solution for delivering hands-on STEM education tools.
With three different age groups utilizing laptops, iPads and LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 robots at Bonham Academy, volunteer David Lopez explains, “We needed a way to store, charge and lock several types of devices – an all-in-one solution flexible enough to accommodate all of our charging needs.”
After a Google search and an eye-catching Facebook ad about laptop carts for schools, Lopez contacted LocknCharge for more information on our open-concept charging carts. He liked what he saw and he liked what he heard.
The design gave them the versatility he was looking for. Utilizing a combination of Baskets by LocknCharge and wire racks inside their carts, Bonham Academy can fit everything they need to run the three groups of robotics club effectively and efficiently.
As a purely volunteer service that a few parents provide, Lopez recognizes the importance of that efficiency. “We’re happy whenever we can reduce setup time and instead dedicate that time to the children of the school,” he said.
Charging used to be somewhat of a hodge-podge with different devices charging in different locations, but they’ve now consolidated everything into one cart – streamlining the setup and tear-down process.
Unlike some alternative options built by the manufacturers of the STEM technology, the LocknCharge Charging Carts are more affordable and flexible. They’re multi-purpose and not tailored to any specific device; thus won’t become obsolete as the technology is redesigned in the future. And the future is really what they’re focused on. As their vision states, Bonham Academy is shaping and empowering culturally literate and innovative global learners and leaders.
For more information about “Thinking Inside the Box”, click here.
To download a PDF of this white paper, click here.
April 10, 2019 | Lake Charles, Louisiana
Mitzi Vincent teaches 6th grade science at the largest middle school in the state of Louisiana. S.J. Welsh Middle School, in the heart of Lake Charles, serves more than 1,300 students of mixed abilities, special needs, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. As a non-Title 1 school, teachers have to get creative in order to find funding. They rely on donations, fundraisers and grants to give their students the very best education and access to technology that they can.
Mitzi is a prime example of a passionate and tenacious teacher facing these funding challenges head-on. When she first stepped into the classroom she currently occupies, she got to work. The technology was limited and what they had was dated, so she wrote and received a grant for 1:1 iPads for her students.
After integrating tablet use into her curriculum she quickly realized their 12-year-old building wasn’t set up with tech in mind, and even with a fairly large space, science supplies seemed to have a way of filling it up. That’s when Mitzi decided there had to be a better solution to charging her new fleet of iPads than the power strips she’d spread throughout the classroom.
Being the resourceful go-getter she is, Mitzi visited the Calcasieu Parish school district’s tech center looking for some expertise on charging and device management options. Out of that visit came the perfect opportunity. She became a part of the center’s pilot program for LocknCharge Putnam 16 Charging Stations™. In exchange for using the charging station on a daily basis, she’d give them her feedback–does it work well, is it convenient, any issues to report, etc.
Mitzi brought the Putnam back to her classroom, plugged it in and was ready to roll. “I have a motto that if something takes more than three major steps it is not going to happen,” she said. The iPad charging station and its easy setup passed her first test with flying colors.
The small footprint and efficiency of charging 16 devices with just one outlet sealed the deal. Plus, with a color-coded LED charging status display, the Putnam made it simple to see which iPads were fully charged and ready. Students are now able to easily help themselves, so Mitzi can spend more of her time teaching and less time tracking down and distributing devices. She also appreciates the fact that she can lock them all up with a combination or the override key that she holds onto.
Looking ahead (as Mitzi tends to do), she wants to write a grant for a second Putnam 16 so that she can accommodate more iPads. As she continues to expand and upgrade her classroom technology, she has her eyes on other LocknCharge products, too. The Laptop charging Carts that offer more capacity, and perhaps even the Sphero Charging Case for her new girls robotics class.
For schools with limited funding, it can certainly be tough to keep up with technology. However, the same can be said about teachers like Mitzi. On behalf of LocknCharge, thank you for all that you do.