1-to-1 student device programs are becoming the norm for many school districts, and investing in support for technology is no longer optional. A March 2021 survey by the EdWeek Research Center found that 90 percent of US educators said there was at least one device for every middle and high schooler. An additional 84 percent said the same about elementary school students.
It’s more important than ever that schools fully support the digital tools that enhance learning outcomes for students. Here are a few ideas for smart investments that will make the best use of limited resources.
1. Invest in Future-Proof Technology
"Future-proof" does not simply mean something will last forever – but rather, that will provide value well into the future. So even as technology advances, future-proof charging solutions are able to evolve to meet your ever-changing needs.
On average, mobile devices in schools are refreshed every 3 to 5 years. It’s important to consider the amount of time and energy expended every time you go back to the drawing board to re-evaluate your technology stack. Imagine the resources your district would save if you didn’t need to replace your charging solutions every time your mobile devices are updated.
Consider investing in a future-proof Joey Cart or Carrier Charging Station by LocknCharge. These solutions combine universal charging, open-concept designs and durable hardware, that will meet your needs for years to come.
Using smart technology, such as smart lockers for schools, is also an investment that will save considerable time and resources long term. The FUYL Tower, for example, keeps devices secure and charged in individually-lockable bays while Admins remotely control user access through a cloud-based portal.
FUYL Towers offer workflow flexibility so that schools can support automated broken device exchanges, no-contact loaner device check out, and secure, public charging on demand. Because LocknCharge Cloud is supported by an agile, in-house software development team, schools can be confident that the Cloud platform is supported at every turn. New, customer-centric features are added on a weekly basis, and industry-standard cyber security measures are always in place.
2. Explore Low-Cost, High-Value Solutions for Modernization
iPads and laptops enhance student learning, but millions of classroom devices lose their charge in schools every day. The obvious solution is to plug those devices into any available wall outlet. However, access to outlets may be limited and plugging too many devices into one outlet can cause a general electrical overload. Not to mention, devices that are charging on a counter or floor are not protected against breakage or theft.
Consider investing in technologies that modernize your school's infrastructure without costly facility upgrades. For example, the high-capacity Revolution 32 Cabinet eliminates the expense of installing new outlets. The station’s ECO Safe Charge™ Power Management System reduces the possibility of blowing a circuit when as many as 32 laptops are plugged in to a single outlet.
Vauban, a private education institution in Luxembourg, utilized FUYL Towers to support their approach to digital learning and to modernize their facility. At Vauban, each student takes ownership of their iPad containing digital textbooks. FUYL Towers promotes accountability for students by offering a secure place to charge a device during the day, keeping them on track in their classwork.
3. Consider Security Improvements
Did you know that between 2005 and 2020, US schools have lost 24.5 million records due to data breaches? Would it surprise you to find out that a sizable number of those breaches were caused by unintentional disclosures or theft/loss of portable devices?
A smart end-of-year budget investment is one that protects against data security breaches, costly device deployment setbacks and inefficient device downtime.
Implementing durable, secure charging stations and smart lockers for schools will physically protect devices and the data that's on them – not to mention decrease costs of lost hardware.
Plus, using a FUYL Tower to automate manual processes for managing mobile devices will free up tech team’s time so they can focus on upgrading network security and protecting student data from cyber attacks.
4. Support Teachers With Time-Saving Tools
With limited educational resources, a smart investment also includes a strategy to deploy valuable tools and resources to the people who need them most.
Ideally, your plan should support teachers by saving them valuable classroom time. For example, one cabinet-style cart can gobble up an additional 70+ hours of class time per year, simply in passing out and collecting devices. Our unique and innovative basket designs reduce the time teachers spend distributing devices, as well as time children spend queuing up to put them away. This means teaching can happen faster – saving over two weeks of instructional time per cart each year!
Hear from Shane Austin of Cooper Middle School as he talks about how the Putnam 16 Charging Station has helped him save valuable teaching time. The short cord system allows students to easily plug in iPads at the end of the day, and the external LED charging status display shows when devices are charged and ready to be used.
Another important time-saving tool for teachers and IT staff are smart lockers for schools. When a student's device breaks, a FUYL Tower can automate the exchange of a new one in just minutes, without the need for assistance by school faculty. This seamless loaner program ensures class isn’t being disrupted by lost, broken or dead devices.
5. Improve Teacher Training and Device Management Support
Less than 17% of teachers believe that they receive adequate training and support when it comes to educational technologies. Setting aside a portion of your budget for educating the educators is vital to ensure your edtech investments are worthwhile. Without training, teachers may not realize the full potential of new tech, and they may be hesitant to use the technology at all.
When frustration with technology is low and satisfaction is high, teachers are more likely to use new technology to its full extent. Devices can only facilitate learning if they’re charged and ready to use. Smart lockers for schools can alleviate frustration with device management by speeding up broken or lost device exchanges. In just a few minutes, students can self-serve a replacement without disrupting class by using a PIN or RFID to access a new device inside a FUYL Tower Smart Locker.
We’re here to help prepare you for the future. Our team remains committed to assisting you in minimizing disruption and maximizing your budget.
Sources: The State of Technology in Education – Promethean