Which Type of Mobile Device Charging Station or Charging Cart Is Best for Your Schools? Here’s a Quick Guide:
There are many options for deploying mobile devices to students and choosing which model makes the most sense for your schools can be hard.
Do you want to give every student a digital device to take home? Have students use 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? Each of these scenarios has its own benefits and challenges.
Whichever method you choose, you’ll need a way to store, charge, and/or sync devices. The type of mobile device charging station or charging cart you use will depend on how you’re deploying mobile devices to students.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of each approach.
1:1 programs in which 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.
Challenges: Many schools might lack the funding needed to deploy a 1:1 program—and it can be hard to find the space needed to store devices in the classroom.
Ideal charging station:
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 buy the devices themselves.
When you’re distributing devices to students at the start of class each day, time is at a premium. The unique basket design of our Carrier 10 and iQ 10 charging stations make this process much easier and more efficient—which saves valuable class time for instruction.
Another option is the Putnam 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 stations’ external LED display makes it easy to know if all devices have been put away at the end of the day.
1:1 programs in which 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.
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 a way they weren’t intended. What’s more, students might forget to charge their device or bring it to school.
Ideal charging station:
To make sure a dead battery doesn’t disrupt learning, students will need a secure way to store and charge their device while at school. The Carrier or iQ charging station is one solution. Another is the FUYL Tower, which includes 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 the charging of their devices at school without any assistance.
Some schools are also using FUYL Towers for device “loaner” 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.
Shared cart 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.
Challenges: Teachers have to schedule their use of a cart, 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.
Ideal tablet charging cart or laptop charging cart:
Our Carrier and Joey charging carts easily travel from classroom to classroom, and they include our innovative basket design. 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.
Most schools will be able to sync devices using a Mobile Device Management solution, but in cases where Wi-Fi isn’t fast enough, the iQ 20 or iQ 30 will sync and charge tablet devices simultaneously. And our unique basket design can save schools money as well, because schools only have to buy one syncing cart. With the baskets, educators can easily remove devices from a charge-only cart and place them into a cart with syncing capabilities when the devices need to be synced.
Another cost-effective syncing solution is the iQ 16 Sync Charge Box, which can charge and sync up to 16 iOS or Samsung devices simultaneously.
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. For instance, teachers have to make sure the learning materials they use are accessible across a wide range of platforms. And because student-owned devices contain personal apps, there is more potential for distraction. Also, variations in the age, speed, and processing power of devices could lead to inequities in how students learn.
Ideal charging station:
Even though students are bringing their own devices from home, they’ll still need a way to charge and store these devices securely when not using them. A solution that can store and charge a wide variety of device types—such as the FUYL Tower– which contains 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. The FUYL Charging Stations significantly cut back on missing or stolen devices because students don’t have to take the risk of leaving their device out in the open while charging.
For more information about our charging solutions for education, click here.