US News | 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.”
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 charging 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. The laptop carts for schools are 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.
In recent years, many schools have focused on adopting technology at a rapid pace. The ambitious goal to connect students with the tech to help them succeed was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, where it became a lifeline in facilitating remote education.
UK schools using technology in everyday teaching and learning practices
Did you know that in a 2021 survey, 36% of primary schools and 58% of secondary schools in the UK reported cyber security breaches in the last 12 months?
Needless to say, schools have invested “a lot” in mobile device programs over the last few years.
The Wake County School District in North Carolina is one example. The district was in the process of updating to a 1-to-1 model in which every student would have access to their own individual device, but the transition to remote learning in 2020 meant they quickly spent $48 million on new devices.
Today’s students have grown up with technology woven into all facets of their lives. In order to keep up with the continued demand for technology in the curriculum, it has now become standard practice for many schools to allow their students to take devices home for schoolwork.
At its surface, a 1-to-1 program is a great solution for schools across the board. After all, allowing students to take home school-owned devices ensures they have equitable access to their work and that they are always working with a device they are familiar with. When students are allowed to take school devices home, it helps bridge the gap between learning at school and learning at home. Nothing beats that, right?
However, teachers and other school administrators know that letting students take devices home also comes with challenges, too. Here we discuss those challenges as well as proven solutions to make 1-to-1 take-home models more efficient for students and less burdensome on school staff.
Challenge #1: Forgotten Devices
“I left my homework at home.” Prior to services like Google Classroom, those six words were the bane of almost every teacher’s existence. Now, imagine if you replaced “homework” with “curriculum.” Students who forget their device at home are not able to participate in lessons that require the use of a device – which puts them a day behind in classwork.
Let’s be honest, students are notoriously forgetful. And between calling Mom or Dad to deliver the device, and missing out on classwork, a forgotten device can be a serious distraction to students and teachers for an entire day.
Solution: Implement a Streamlined Device Loaner Program
Get a device back in the hands of the student faster – and save your tech teams serious time – by implementing an on-site device loaner program. By filling a secure FUYL Tower Smart Charging Locker with loaner devices at each school location, students can enter a 4-digit PIN or scan an RFID badge to check out a loaner device with minimal faculty oversight.
The only time taken from an IT member’s or a media specialist’s day is providing the PIN or RFID access. This process can be automated even further by integrating an external ticketing system with LocknCharge Cloud.
The best part of all? The student is able to get back to class – and back to learning – without missing a beat.
Challenge #2: Dead Devices
Remember those forgetful students we mentioned? They’re probably going to forget to charge their devices before coming to class, too. Similar to showing up with no device, a dead laptop or tablet has the same capacity to disrupt learning time.
“You don’t always think about charging as a problem until you see the things students do to charge their devices throughout the day,” said Kim Bannigan, a learning information systems coordinator at DeForest Area School District. “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, Administrator at DeForest Area School District in Wisconsin
With limited outlets in the classroom, cafeteria, or media center, students are probably going to play a game of limbo all day long – struggling to find an outlet, only to leave their devices unattended while charging.
Solution: Enable Secure Charging Locations for Students
Allow students to securely charge their devices on demand by installing a FUYL Tower Smart Locker in a public area of the school. By empowering students to securely charge their devices during the day, schools are teaching students to take ownership of their devices while decreasing the costs of their device programs.
Read these case studies to learn more about on-demand public charging in schools
Challenge: #3 Broken Devices
One of the top frustrations of IT staff is that they have more work than they're able to handle. Whether it be general software maintenance or broken hardware, it’s inevitable that student devices will need some kind of repair during the school year.
For tech teams and media specialists that are already strapped for resources, imagine the additional time that is wasted running around collecting broken devices. If 20% of devices go missing or are broken each year across multiple school locations, the burden can quickly compound.
Solution: Automate Your Break/Fix Program with a Smart Locker
Save your tech team serious time by implementing a smart charging locker to facilitate broken device exchanges. By designating a smart locker (such as the FUYL Tower) as a device repair drop point, school staff members no longer need to waste their valuable time tracking down and collecting broken devices.
Once a student reports that their device is in need of attention, a staff member can assign that student to a specific locker. Using an admin-defined PIN or an RFID card, the student can either drop their device in an empty slot or swap their broken device for a ready-to-use one. Once their device is fixed, they simply return to a smart charging locker to swap their loaner device for the original device.
BONUS FEATURE OF A SMART LOCKER FOR DEVICE MANAGEMENT IN SCHOOLS:
Admins can monitor and record activity of the Tower, which automates the need for extra human capital to track the whereabouts of a device at any given time. A Tower can automate manual tasks that once required human touch for a fraction of the cost.
Challenge #4: Summer Vacation
Summer vacation is just around the corner, and suddenly you’re scrambling, trying to figure out where you are going to store all these devices this summer. Plus, you’re having nightmares that tablets and laptops aren’t going to be charged when school starts back up. And on top of that, you’re already stressed about the chaos that will ensue when devices need to be redistributed at the beginning of the year.
Solution for Storage: Invest in an Open-Concept Charging Cart with Baskets
Many schools are investing in open-concept charging carts with baskets that have the ability to securely store, charge and transport large numbers of laptops, tablets and other technology when not in use. By placing the devices in baskets, devices are easily loaded and unloaded into a cart, allowing them to be charged in batches with ease.
In addition to mobile devices, open-concept carts can flex to accommodate robotics, 3D printers, VR goggles and more. Plus, as tablet and laptop technology in schools evolves, these types of universal charging stations will not become outdated.
Solution for Charging: Find a Charging Solution That Features ECO Safe Charge
Alright, so you’ve solved the issue of storage … now onto those dead batteries. Finding a spot to charge tens, hundreds or even thousands of devices at once can be daunting. It can also put serious strain on a school building’s electrical capabilities.
To efficiently charge greater numbers of devices while reducing the possibility of a general electrical overload to an outlet, power management inside of a charging cart is key. Features like “safe on/off”, “ECO Timer All” and “ECO Timer Cycle” are imperative to a smooth transition from summer to the first day of school. Click here for a quick guide to getting devices ready for the new school year.
Solution for Distribution: Use Distribution Tools Such as Time-Saving Baskets
The final hurdle is redistribution of devices. The answer? Time-Saving Baskets and FUYL Tower Smart Lockers. Quickly and easily transport and distribute devices throughout your school with hand-held device baskets, designed so you can safely carry 5 devices in each hand. You can see how schools are using baskets to cut down on device distribution time here:
To seamlessly onboard teachers, or perhaps new students entering your district mid-year, use a FUYL Tower to deploy devices with far fewer headaches. Just place the towers in an accessible location, and stock them with a ready-to-go device in each bay. When a teacher or student needs a device, they’re assigned a tower bay and can access a device at their convenience. There’s no need to schedule pick-ups and drop-offs or even engage in face-to-face interaction, leaving your IT team more time to focus on other tasks.
Read this case study to learn more about using a Smart Locker for contactless device distribution in schools.
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.
Everything You Need to Know About Smart Charging Lockers
Take a deep dive into this article about Smart Lockers to better understand their value, workflows, features and more.
ECO Safe Charge Functions
The remote-controlled ECO Safe Charge™ Power Management System has the capability to charge multiple laptops and power other electrical equipment safely and efficiently. ECO Safe Charge is essential when a high capacity Charging Station or Charging Cart needs to simultaneously charge a large number of devices.
The intelligent ECO Safe Charge™ Power Management System provides four essential functions:
- SAFE-ON: sequentially stages power to each group of outlets, reducing the possibility of a momentary electrical overload when multiple laptops are first powered on. This mode will work up to 2400 Watts.
- ECO-TIMER-ALL: sequentially stages power to each group of outlets but automatically turns the power off after a selected time has elapsed. Use this mode to quickly charge all laptops if it is permissible to charge them together without causing a general electrical overload.
- ECO-TIMER-CYCLE: individually powers each group of outlets at a time for the duration selected then automatically turns the power off before applying power to the next group of outlets until it has cycled through all groups of outlets. Use this mode to prevent a general electrical overload if all the laptops require more power than is permitted to be supplied to all laptops together. If your devices require more than 2400 Watts, use ECO-TIMER-CYCLE to stage the availability of power to avoid overload.
- SAFE-OFF: this function turns off all outlets.
Benefits of ECO Safe Charge
- Reduces the possibility of blowing a circuit when a Cart or Station filled with devices is plugged into a single outlet.
- The ECO-TIMER™ functions can reduce your energy consumption, reduce carbon emissions, extend the life of device batteries and reduce your power bills.
A typical circuit is 10 amps, which equates to 2400 watts. By using a LocknCharge product featuring ECO Safe Charge, it’s possible to charge up to 2400 watts in SAFE-ON mode. You may experience challenges if all of your devices are fully-depleted, if you’re charging 40 devices that are supplied with more than 65-watt power supplies, or if the same circuit is pulling power to charge other electronics in addition to the Cart. The reason for these challenges is that the devices will pull too much current for the ECO Safe Charge, and the circuit breaker will open. To fix this issue, simply change the charging mode to 3-hour ECO-TIMER-CYCLE to get the devices up and charging. Once the devices have some charge in them, the Cart should be able to continue in the ECO-TIMER-ALL mode to keep them charged during the day.
LocknCharge Products that Feature ECO Safe Charge
- Carrier 20 Cart, Carrier 30 Cart and Carrier 40 Cart
- Joey 30 Cart and Joey 40 Cart
- Revolution 32 Charging Stations
Setting Up ECO Safe Charge
Click to Download the ECO Safe Charge Instruction Manual
April 10, 2019 | Lake Charles, Louisiana, USA
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 realised 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 centre looking for some expertise on charging and device management options. Out of that visit came the perfect opportunity. She became a part of the centre’s pilot program for LocknCharge Putnam 16 Charging Stations™. In exchange for using the iPad 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 Putnam 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.
On the 15th May, facilities managers and workplace managers will celebrate “World FM Day”, recognising the facilities management profession and the contribution the industry makes to businesses and organisations worldwide. This international day gives thanks to those who keep our facilities healthy, safe and productive.
This year’s theme is ‘Celebrating Global FM Standards’, and celebrations will take place throughout the entire month of May. Created in partnership with student engagement consultancy Class of Your Own, the school’s workshop programme was unveiled last week to a group of member volunteers, including IWFM Manager of the Year Laura Birnbaum.
Established in 2018, the IWFM is the professional body for workplace and facilities practitioners. It exists to promote excellence among a worldwide community of over 17,000 and to demonstrate the value and contribution of workplace and facilities management more widely.
Activity-based workshops in schools across the UK are being unveiled as part of the campaign, with the aim of encouraging children to learn about its diversity and impact.
The school’s project is the pilot phase of an IWFM ‘career of choice’ campaign being developed with input from leading FM service providers to address the profession’s growing skills gap. In future, the campaign will target different audience groups, including graduates in relatable disciplines and others such as military personnel, aiming to attract the brightest and best people into the broad sector.
After the pilot workshop last week at Alder Grange High School, Rawtenstall in Lancashire, Mark Whittaker, IWFM North regional chair and Solutions Consultant for Thomson FM said:
“The day proved a great success. The kids were brilliant and spent part of the day noting the aspects of facilities management delivery within the school to highlight areas of improvement.
“I believe it is crucial that as a profession we initiate the conversations with children about a career in FM at secondary school age. It was brilliant to be able to share details of some exciting UK and global projects, to hopefully ignite a passion to pursue a career in the profession.”
This is just one of a number of initiatives from IWFM to mark World FM Day.
James Symons, CEO of LocknCharge says, “LocknCharge has a founding principle – to make people’s life easier. LocknCharge makes products that make life easier for people managing distribution of mobile technology and the people using the mobile technology. This includes those in the FM industry, in areas such as schools, office blocks, and similar. As such we are delighted that focus is being brought to a sector that is so important in our everyday lives.”
To read more about Digital Technology in the FM Sector, click here.
For more information on World FM Day see the IWFM website at: www.iwfm.org.uk