How to Raise Your School’s Infrastructure Grade with a Low-Cost Charging Solution

Teens in school hallway next to FUYL Tower

Three out of four U.S. students now use smartphones as educational aides in the classroom.[1] More than half of K-12 teachers report the use of edtech solutions, including laptop computers and tablets in a typical week.[2] That means tens of millions of electronic devices are losing their charge throughout schools every day. The obvious solution is to plug those devices into an outlet when they’re need of recharging. However, if you’ve spent any time in an airport with your phone’s battery on one percent, you know that not all buildings are outfitted with enough outlets to serve our growing demand for power. The technology infrastructure in schools is no different. Most classrooms average more than twenty students; it’s highly unlikely there’s an available outlet for each student, not to mention one for teachers, aides and other support staff.

“You don’t always think about charging as a problem until you see the things students do to charge their devices throughout the day. Kids were leaving devices wherever there was an open outlet. At one point, an outlet in the cafeteria was being used so frequently that it disrupted the lunch line.”

Kim Bannigan - Deforest Area School Distrcit

Kim Bannigan, a learning information systems coordinator at DeForest Area School District, is all too familiar with this issue. “You don’t always think about charging as a problem until you see the things students do to charge their devices throughout the day,” she explains. “Kids were leaving devices wherever there was an open outlet. At one point, an outlet in the cafeteria was being used so frequently that it disrupted the lunch line.”

In addition to outlets being hard to come by in schools, they also don’t protect against breakage or theft. As you can imagine, a school’s cafeteria is not the safest spot to store a device.

School Infrastructure Report Card

The next obvious solution to meet the charging needs of students and their devices is to install additional outlets. But infrastructure updates are costly, and education funding is often limited. In 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave public schools a D+ in its annual infrastructure report card and estimated that the cost to bring all U.S. schools into better condition would be approximately $200 billion.[3] With the average cost of adding a new electric outlet at around $350, additional outlets may not be the highest priority when more than half of schools need to invest in repairs, renovations and modernizations to even be considered in ‘good’ condition. [4],[5]

One Low-Cost Step towards Modernization

A wide range of creative ideas is required to tackle the enormous task of modernizing schools. Deploying on-demand, centralized and secure charging towers is an innovative smart classroom management solution that will get your school one step closer to improving its infrastructure grade. Charging towers and charging carts offer modern convenience without expensive facilities updates, bringing your school into the 21st century at a low cost. Check out these seven benefits of secure charging towers for schools:

  1. Save money on infrastructure updates: Eliminate the need for new outlets. An optional pedestal for the Putnam 18 Tower allows you to charge 36 Chromebook, small laptop or tablet devices in two stacked charging stations with one outlet plug.
  2. Prevent electrical overload: Finding a spot to charge tens, hundreds, or even thousands of devices at once can be daunting. It can also put a severe strain on an outdated school building’s electrical capabilities. Our solutions are equipped with an ECO Safe Charge, so you won’t have to worry about electrical overload while charging multiple devices at one outlet.
  3. Safely store devices: Because students have their own code to access LocknCharge towers, they’re more secure than a regular locker, a classroom and especially a cafeteria.
  4. Secure Charging on Demand. FUYL Towers can be stationed in open areas where they’re needed most – library media centers, hallways, lunchrooms, etc. Even when they’re deployed in public spaces, nobody has to watch them. Devices can be accessed anytime students need them, such as during passing times, lunch, or before or after school.
  5. Reduce BYOD challenges: One of the biggest challenges of a “bring your own device” program is students leaving their device at home. Students are notorious for being forgetful. The distractions that come from a forgotten device have the potential to halt or alter your class for the entire day, not to mention putting students a day behind in classwork. No more “I left my laptop at home” excuses.
  6. Keep devices charged: Guess what, those forgetful students are probably not going to remember to charge their laptops and tablets before class. Similar to showing up with no device, a dead device has the same capacity to disrupt learning time.
  7. Cut additional expenses: While charging solutions may account for a significant portion of a school’s mobile device budget, your school will save time and costs if you don’t need to replace your charging solutions every time you roll out new mobile devices. We call this concept “future-proof charging.” Future-proof charging solutions grow and adapt along with technological innovation and combine universal charging, open-concept designs and durable products to save schools money.

All students and teachers deserve schools that are modernized and capable of supporting the latest education programming. Contact LocknCharge, and we’ll help you design a proactive solution for your infrastructure challenges.


[1] Global Education Census Report – Cambridge Assessment International Education

[2] 2016 Digital Education Survey – Deloitte

[3] 2017 Infrastructure Report Card – American Society of Civil Engineers

[4] How Much Does It Cost To Install An Electrical Outlet? – ImproveNet

[5] 2017 Infrastructure Report Card – American Society of Civil Engineers

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We Go Above and Beyond for You

IMG_0581-Web

At LocknCharge we think of you as more than just a customer, you’re family. We pride ourselves in treating you like we treat our own families, with care, attention and thoughtfulness. That means we’ll always go the extra mile for you. Here are some other ways we show how much we care:

We Build High-Quality, Long-Lasting Products

Our customers deserve products to be thoroughly tested and built to withstand heavy usage. Our design and manufacturing process ensures that our products meet the highest standards. Manufacturing facilities employ robust procedures to ensure that customers are getting a high-quality product that’s made to last. That’s why LocknCharge products are built in ISO 9001:2008 certified manufacturing facilities.

“Supporting your product has been a breeze. Give my thanks to the team for being a great product with awesome support!” – Chris from Carlsbad, CA

"I have recommended LocknCharge to several people now based on my experience with you. Thanks for the great support and really nice product." – Matt, EdTech Network Administrator from CO

We Deliver Exceptional Customer Service and Support

It’s no secret that our widespread customer success is due in large part to our customer service staff. LocknCharge focuses on hiring extraordinary people who strive to do what’s best for the customer while also being extremely easy to work with, and fun too! They’re our expert problem solvers, providing the right answers to your inquiries in 48 hours or less—sometimes before you even know what questions to ask. They’re passionate about our products and know them inside and out. They’ll conduct research, proactively inquire and follow up, making sure our customers are always satisfied. It’s the reason they receive countless thank you emails covered in exclamation points.

Because we take the time to stay in touch, we get to know many of our customers on a very personal level. We don’t just care about how your LocknCharge products are working. We also care about your son’s playoff soccer game last weekend and how your new adorable puppy is fitting in with the family. We just have one expectation in return. Pictures! Send us lots of pictures!

“We’ve been a customer with LocknCharge for the past four years, and our customer experience has been incomparable to any other company. Willingness to work, flexibility, and always caring for the customer, LocknCharge is one of our valued strategic partners when it comes to the success of our students.” – Israel Oliveros from Coachella Valley Unified School District, CA

"Thank you so much. If I had known it was this simple, I would have contacted you long ago." – Carole, In School Intervention Program/Special Education from Texas

We Bring you Peace of Mind

From our Magical Unicorn Lifetime Warranty to our extremely secure solutions, you can rely on us to protect your devices and the data that’s on them. Our Carrier™ Charging Stations are made with high-quality welded steel and come with stainless steel locks and keys. An optional anchor kit locks the whole Joey™ Charging Cart to the floor or wall with a heavy-duty chain and keyed lock. And a built-in mechanical combination lock makes our Putnam™ 18 Tower charging station ultra-secure.

In addition, all of our products are now fully backed by a lifetime warranty on the main frame, electrical and all other components.* It’s a one-of-a-kind guarantee that’s as unique as a magical unicorn. This security gives CTOs, teachers and administrators peace of mind so that they can focus on what’s essential—giving students the best education.

“As a CTO for a school district, LocknCharge has really brought us peace of mind. We’ve had a couple of break-ins at school sites, but the best that they’ve been able to do is touch the cart and a couple of wires. No iPads have ever been stolen out of a LocknCharge cart. As the person in charge of 20,000 iPads in our school district, we feel peace of mind and safety and security with these carts in particular. We love them!” – Michelle Murphy, CTO Executive Director of Technology Services, Coachella Unified School District, CA

We’re dedicated to going above and beyond for you.

Everyone at LocknCharge is consistently focused on what matters to you. We each share a common philosophy that the customer comes first. Here are some examples of how we strive to go above and beyond for you.

“As a former teacher, I can understand the frustrations that go on in a classroom. I’m able to identify ways that LocknCharge can alleviate many of the struggles teachers face – and give them back the most important thing they need more of…time. I truly believe our solutions can improve efficiency in the classroom, which helps all aspects of a child’s education.”

– Courtney White, LocknCharge Customer Success Manager

“I love that we can be different. We treat our accounts like family. We know them well, so they’ll ask us things like, ‘how are your kids doing?’”

– Jason Zelhofer, LocknCharge Warranty and Customer Support Manager

“No matter who answers the phone or what the issue is, everyone at LocknCharge is willing to assist.”

– Amy Perkel, LocknCharge Customer Success Manager

“Every time I am with a customer or partner, I interact the same way I would with my best friends or family. I want customers to experience an authentic view of who I am and the company I represent–that we are a people-first organization, and we care about others. I want people to feel as comfortable talking about mobile deployments with us as they are talking about anything else that is on their mind. It’s that freedom to be who we all really are that lets our new ideas soar for someone’s organization and even for our own organization."

– Stephanie Gassen  Global Vice President of Marketing & Americas K12 Sales Director

“I’m always willing to make time and show a sense of urgency for our customers. One year, I spent my birthday out of state with one of my favorite customers. On another occasion, I remember exchanging text messages with a customer while my four-year-old rode my shoulders at the Wisconsin State Fair. I’ve even shared tips with a customer to help relieve their baby of gas pain–because it takes a village.”

– Kyle Jacobson, LocknCharge Channel Manager

“LocknCharge gives us a lot of autonomy to always make it right for the customer.”

– Chris Ledbetter, Technical Customer Service & Warranty Associate

“Finding the right solution can be challenging, but you can be sure that we will take the time to talk through every option to find one that fits best.”

– Tyler Oren, LocknCharge Account Manager

“Our partnerships aren’t just something that we use once and toss out. These relationships really do resemble a family. That’s why I am always asking what I can be doing to make our partners’ jobs easier. A small extra step for me could save them a lot of time, so it’s totally worth it in the large scheme of things.”

– Mark Cochran, LocknCharge Sales Operations Specialist

Do you have a brother you can always depend on to give you a ride to the airport? Or a cousin who brings those delicious pies to a holiday dinner year after year? What about a father who tells dad jokes that are so corny you just have to laugh? We’d like you to think of us as another dependable member of the family. You can rely on us in tough situations to make your life easier and bring a smile to your face to brighten your day.

*Click here for full warranty details.

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Three Solutions to Alleviate IT Staff Stress

Handheld technology in classrooms has come a long way since the introduction of calculators nearly fifty years ago. A new global survey from Cambridge International found that the use of technology in schools worldwide continues to evolve rapidly, with 42% of students reporting they use smartphones in the classroom and 20% using tablets. The number of smartphones used jumps to nearly three-quarters of all U.S. students.[1]

This rise of technology has profoundly impacted the daily lives of all education professionals, but perhaps none more than teachers and IT staff. From CIOs to edtech specialists, school technology staff is facing growing cybersecurity threats and increased student data privacy concerns along with the digitization of curriculum. Add to that the fact that many IT workers are taking on more responsibilities than ever before with fewer resources and you have a recipe for more stress and employee dissatisfaction across a variety of industries:

  • 46% of IT workers consider their job stressful, 18% report their job was more stressful this year than the previous year.[2]
  • 65% of IT and security professionals consider quitting due to burnout.[3]
  • 36% of CIOs interviewed said bigger workloads are the greatest source of stress for their teams, 22% cited the pace of new technology as the most significant stressor.[4]

Finding a way to juggle increased workloads while reducing frustration may be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Let’s explore three key ways IT staff can decrease stress levels by guarding the privacy of student and personal data, making daily workflows and processes more efficient, and increasing awareness and recognition.

Stay Ahead of Cybersecurity Threats and Data Privacy Protection

41% of data breaches are due to lost and stolen mobile devices. As the use of technology in education increases, the critical oversight of not protecting your devices when not in use can create painful hassles for IT staff. It’s essential to protect your students and your school by securing devices with both digital security and physical security when not in use.

LocknCharge Solution: Implementing durable, secure charging stations will protect devices and the data that’s on them. Not to mention decrease costs. As careful as educators try to be with their hardware, 10% of mobile devices break or go missing in the first year of a smart classroom deployment. A centralized point of secure charging helps schools provide a repository for tablets and laptops, reducing breakage and loss as well as provide protection for data, so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Help Manage a Bigger Workload with Fewer Employees

In a time of budget challenges and cutbacks, increasing staff is a costly way to manage the extra workload of your school’s IT department. Also, simply asking your team to work faster and harder won’t solve your problems, and will lead to more stress and dissatisfaction.

 LocknCharge Solution: Many school-owned smartphones and tablets will inevitably need repair or maintenance during the school year. Get devices back in the hands of the student faster—and save your tech teams serious time with LocknCharge carts and stations, which can be set up in one-third of the time of traditional systems. Also, by designating a smart charging locker as a device repair drop point, you’ll eliminate slow, manual processes by streamlining maintenance and your loaner device program. As a bonus, admins can monitor and record the activity of the lockers, which reduces the need for extra human capital to manage this workflow. These scenarios lighten IT staff workload and keep the day on track.

Show Your Support and Appreciation

In its research, Jobsite found that 67% of IT professionals felt that colleagues did not appreciate the complexity of their work.[5]

LocknCharge Solution: If technical support team members are only brought in when something goes wrong, that means their best work is likely going unnoticed by teachers and the administration. It’s essential to raise awareness about the evolving role of the technology department as technology enablers. One way to increase recognition is to bring IT staff and teachers together to collaborate on tech initiatives. The EdTech demo room at the University of Oklahoma K20 Center is an excellent example of a district empowering group decision making and collaboration. The administration encourages ideas from all angles to be considered in a constructive manner, which makes everyone feel valued.

Learn how one school’s director of technology found tremendous value in the flexibility of LocknCharge Carts. Reduction in cart set-up times and exceptional customer service made LocknCharge the perfect partner for the deployment of 34,000 student and staff devices. Watch the Grand Prairie Testimonial.


Sources:

[1] Global Education Census Report – Cambridge Assessment International Education

[2] IT Salary Survey 2017: Highlights – Computerworld

[3]  Improving the Effectiveness of the SOC – Ponemon Institute 

[4] Workplace Stress Increases Tension for IT Workers – Government Technology

[5] Office workers don’t appreciate the complexities facing IT staff – ComputerWeekly.com

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Improve Teacher Satisfaction with Innovative Charging Solutions

Many schools and districts around the world struggle with retaining qualified teachers. Check out these concerning findings:

  • Almost half of the teachers in the U.S. are actively looking for a different job or watching for opportunities.[1]
  • In Germany and France, less than 5% of teachers leave schools within the first five years. However, in Sweden, national statistics show that 32% of recently graduated teachers are no longer active in Swedish schools after five years. This percentage jumps to between 30% and 50% in the U.S. and U.K.[2]
  • On average, districts in the U.S. spend more than $20,000 on each new hire. This revolving door costs public schools up to $2.2 billion annually.[3]

Image of frustrated female teacher sitting at a desk and holding her head.

Addressing teacher turnover matters because it is not only is costly; it has serious consequences for student achievement. Retaining high-performing teachers is critical to a productive classroom. Research published in the American Education Research Journal found that “students in grade levels with higher turnover score lower in both English language arts (ELA) and math.”[4] This negative impact doesn’t just affect the students in the new teachers’ classrooms, but all students in a school with high teacher turnover rates.[5]

While some countries are focused on increasing recruitment into the teaching profession, others believe a more efficient strategy is to instead concentrate on retaining and supporting active teachers. According to the leading expert Dr. Richard Ingersoll, “Putting it metaphorically, it is better to patch the holes in the bucket before trying to fill it up.”[6]

Solutions to Reduce Teacher Burnout

While many factors can cause teacher burnout, the number one reason teachers leave the profession is due to dissatisfaction. Research recommends that supporting and valuing teachers is just as vital as tackling workload and long working hours to keep job fulfillment high and improve teacher retention.[7] Let’s review two common causes of dissatisfaction and how LocknCharge provides solutions to help patch your bucket before your school loses more water:

Teachers are Working Harder than Ever Before

Educators in the U.S. reported spending more time teaching than those in other countries. U.S. teachers work longer than the contracted workday, spending more than 50 hours per week on instructional duties.[8] In England, teachers are working 46 hours per week. Both are well above the international average of 38 hours each week, with 20 hours spent teaching.[9]

LocknCharge Solution: When compared to a LocknCharge top-loading Cart with Baskets, one cabinet-style cart can gobble up an additional 70+ hours of class time per year, simply in passing out and collecting devices. LocknCharge baskets have a profound impact on class time. Our unique and innovative basket designs not only keep tablets safe, but they also reduce the time spent by teachers in distributing devices, as well as the time spent by children queuing up to put them away. This means teaching can happen faster — saving over two weeks of instructional time per cart each year! Calculate the time savings of leveraging a durable, top-loading basket-based cart from LocknCharge.

Teachers Feel Unsupported and Undervalued

Even though they’re working harder, nearly two-thirds of teachers in developed countries still feel undervalued.[10] That number jumps to over 90% of teachers in France, Spain and Sweden who think their profession is not respected.

LocknCharge Solution: If teachers feel unsupported as new technology is introduced, their attitudes can quickly go from excitement to frustration. However, when educators feel supported by their district, they know that their personal well being is important.

  1. Include teachers in decision making. When teachers are included in big initiatives, they feel valued. One great example of collaboration is the University of Oklahoma K20 Center. The Center encourages a school or district to bring leadership members, IT staff, and teachers spanning different grade levels to their EdTech demo room as a way to empower decision making within the group. This encourages ideas from all angles to be considered in a constructive manner.
  2. Support teachers when new technology is introduced by deploying an efficient mobile device workflow in the classroom to mitigate that frustration and improve teacher satisfaction. Innovative features in a charging solution like charging status indicator lights and mobile device baskets can simplify daily device distribution — giving teachers more control over how they use their class time.
  3. Provide training for new technology. Study after study shows that teachers do not feel secure in their ability to incorporate high-level technology in teaching and learning. By creating a roadmap and a training program for new tech, teachers are much more likely to adopt new ways of teaching through tech.
  4. Give teachers the opportunity to shine. For more reasons than we could ever count, teachers are incredible. They not only have high expectations for their students, but also for themselves. When teachers are given the time and space to use their talents, the sky is the limit for their curriculum and their students. What could your teachers accomplish if they were able to get back two weeks of class time per year?

Over the past 20 years, the needs of teachers and students have guided the designs of our mobile device charging carts and stations to relieve pain points that are specific to challenges in education. After talking to thousands of educators around the world, we’ve jotted down 9 Reasons Why Schools & Teachers Love LocknCharge.


Sources:

[1] Why Teachers Quit – WeAreTeachers

[2] Teacher attrition the first five years – A multifaceted image – ScienceDirect

[3] Teacher Attrition Costs United States Up to $2.2 Billion Annually – Alliance for Excellent Education

[4] How Teacher Turnover Harms Student Achievement – American Education Research Journal

[5] Why Addressing Teacher Turnover Matters – Learning Policy Institute

[6] Teacher attrition the first five years – A multifaceted image – ScienceDirect

[7] Improve job satisfaction to stop teachers quitting the classroom – Nuffield Foundation

[8] New Data Shows Educators Work 11 Hours Overtime per Week – Tsheets

[9] New teacher survey – LA School Report

[10] Two-thirds of teachers feel undervalued, says OECD study – BBC News

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