Education: Best Mobile Device Charging Stations for Schools

May 24, 2022

The past few years have tested many school districts like never before, but within what sometimes seemed like chaos, opportunities emerged. Both remote learning programs and mobile device programs skyrocketed, and along with them, the need for secure, reliable mobile device charging stations.

Schools quickly learned that there are many options for deploying mobile devices—and that each model comes with its own set of device management challenges. Choosing what makes the most sense for your district can be hard.

Do you want to give every student a digital device to take home? Provide students with devices that stay in each classroom? Distribute mobile devices to students through a shared cart approach? Or let students bring their own devices from home?

The way you store, charge and manage devices will depend on the model you choose for deploying mobile devices to students. Read on to learn the pros and cons of the best mobile device charging stations for schools.

1:1 Programs – Devices Stay in the Classroom

Benefits: This model creates consistency and uniformity, making it easier for IT staff to support the devices. Because everyone is using the same type of device with the same platform, teachers know that whatever apps they use will work on students’ devices. And since the devices remain at school, teachers don’t have to worry about students leaving their devices at home or forgetting to charge them. It’s also the smartest investment for schools on a tight budget.

Challenges: When students leave devices at school, they’re not able to use them for homework. This type of program also doesn’t allow for distance learning, should schools ever close again in the future.

Best Mobile Device Charging Stations

Because devices don’t need to be moved from one classroom to another in a full 1:1 environment, a wall charging station is a fitting option. These units take up less space and typically cost less than a cart, leaving more money to spend on other tech tools.

When you’re distributing devices to students at the start of class each day, time is at a premium. The best charging stations for schools make this process much easier and more efficient, which saves valuable class time for instruction. That’s why we created the unique basket design of our Carrier 10 and iQ 10 charging stations.

Another option is the Putnam 8 or 16. While these aren’t basket-compatible, they are perfect for 1:1 “stay at school” programs that use tablets. As an added bonus, the station’s external LED display makes it easy to know if all devices have been put away at the end of the day, and they come pre-wired with MFI-approved lightning cables, making setup a breeze.

1:1 Programs – Students Take Devices Home

Benefits: Letting students take school-owned devices home creates a “classroom without walls,” enabling 24-7 learning. It also addresses the digital divide and the so-called “homework gap,” ensuring that all students have equitable access to learning opportunities and their teachers.

Challenges: Besides the obvious funding hurdles, take-home 1:1 programs come with an increased risk of devices being damaged, lost or stolen. It can be harder for schools to manage the devices, as students might be downloading apps or using devices in unintended ways. What’s more, students might forget to charge their device or forget to bring their device altogether. Another challenge that often comes up is how to store and charge devices over the summer when all of the devices are returned to school.

Best Mobile Device Charging Stations

An excellent solution is the FUYL Tower, which includes 5 or 15 individually-lockable compartments that can store and charge any mobile device. Many schools are placing FUYL Towers in common spaces or media centers so that students can securely charge their devices between classes, during classes that don’t require the use of a mobile device or during lunch. The individually lockable compartments work like a hotel safe, creating less work for educators because students can manage their devices at school without any assistance.

Some schools are also using FUYL Towers for device “loaner” programs or break/fix programs. In these scenarios, they’re fully stocking a Tower with extra devices so that if a device is broken, or if a student forgets to bring his device from home, the student can be given a PIN to retrieve a loaner device without IT staff having to intervene. They have also been extremely useful in distributing devices to students or teachers during distance learning.

Another option is to install secure charging stations for schools to help make sure a dead battery doesn’t disrupt learning. The Carrier Charging Station or iQ Charging Station can be easily mounted to a wall in a library or classroom, and both take up only minimal space.

Shared Device Environments

Benefits: Having classrooms share devices allows schools to keep costs down and extend their resources further. A shared-use environment can be much less expensive than a full 1:1 program, and with fewer devices to support, IT staff aren’t as stretched thin. Shared carts are also great for specialized or expensive equipment, like the devices used for STEM or gaming programs.

Challenges: Teachers have to schedule their use of carts and mobile device charging stations, and students won’t have daily access to the devices for learning. These factors may discourage teachers from using technology for instruction. In addition, the apps that students use for learning will vary from one classroom to the next, so teachers will need an easy way to set up and customize shared devices for their students.

Best Mobile Device Charging Stations

Our Carrier Charging Carts and Joey Charging Carts easily travel from classroom to classroom, and they include our innovative device distribution baskets. These baskets, along with the top-loading design of the carts, cut the time it takes to distribute and collect devices in half. What’s more, teachers can use the baskets themselves to transport devices between classrooms safely and efficiently, or they can enlist the help of students.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Programs

Benefits: BYOD programs are the least expensive way to use technology for teaching and learning because schools can leverage the devices students already own. What’s more, students are already comfortable with their own device, so there’s no learning curve associated with the technology.

Challenges: Teaching in a mixed-device environment can be difficult. Teachers have to make sure the learning materials they use are accessible across a wide range of platforms. There is more potential for distraction because devices contain personal apps, and variations in the age, speed, and processing power of devices—or a lack of resources to purchase their own device at all—could lead to inequities in how students learn.

Best Mobile Device Charging Stations

Even though students are bringing their own devices from home, you’ll still need secure charging stations for schools. A solution that can store and charge a wide variety of device types—such as the FUYL Tower Smart Locker, which contains 5 or 15 individually-lockable compartments—is ideal.

Students will find any outlet they can to charge their devices during the school day, often leaving them unattended. FUYL Towers significantly cut back on missing or stolen devices because students don’t have to leave their device out in the open while charging. FUYL Towers are also extremely flexible. They have two modes, which allows you to facilitate a break/fix program or loaner device program as well as public charging.

While the best mobile device charging stations, charging carts and smart lockers for your school or district depends on the type of program you implement, LocknCharge has a variety of solutions to fit all needs. Contact us today and we’ll work with you to find your perfect charging solution.

Schedule a Live Product Demo

Schedule a live video demo with a LocknCharge team member to get a closer look at how our products help make your life easier.
Schedule Now

Get in touch with us today GB.