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Take-Home Student Device Programs: What Challenges Are Schools Facing?

In today’s modern world, more and more schools are utilizing technology at a rapid pace. In a 2015 study, researchers found that over 80% of all students reported using a computer during the week for school work. Today’s students are digital natives – they’ve grown up with technology woven into all facets of their lives. In order to keep up with the demand for technology in the curriculum, many schools have begun allowing 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 always have 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–letting students take devices home also comes with challenges. Here we discuss those challenges as well as proven solutions to make 1-1 take-home models more efficient for students and less burdensome on school staff.


 
 
Challenge: Forgotten Device = Student Falls Behind in Class

“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 notorious for being forgetful. And between calling Mom and Dad to bring the device, missing out on classwork, and more, the distractions that come from a forgotten device have the potential to halt or alter your class for the 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 a streamlined device loaner program. By filling a smart locker charging station with ready-to-use devices, students can simply punch in a 4-digit PIN or scan an RFID badge to gain access to a new device inside the secure locker. The only time taken from an IT Member’s or a Media Specialist’s day is providing the PIN or RFID access. And best of all, the student is able to get back to class–and back to learning–without missing a beat.


 
 
Challenge: Dead Devices = Unattended Devices are Stolen, Go Missing or Are Broken at a Higher Rate

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 smart locker charging station in a public area of the school or in the media center. Schools that do not provide secure charging can see as many as 10% of devices becoming broken or going missing each year. By empowering students to securely charge their devices during the day, schools are decreasing the costs of their device programs.

You can read more about on-demand charging workflow here: Deforest Areas Schools Empowering Students with Mobile Device Charging Towers.


 

 
Challenge: Broken Devices = Increased Burden on School Staff and Resources

One of the top frustrations of IT Staff is that they have more work than they’re able to handle. It’s inevitable that many institution-owned devices will need some kind of repair–whether it be general software maintenance or broken hardware–at some point during the school year.

For Tech Teams and Media Specialists that are already strapped on time, imagine the additional wasted time needed to run around collecting broken devices. With 10% of devices going missing or broken during each year of mobile deployment, the burden can quickly compound.

Solution: Streamline Your Break/Fix Program with a Smart Locker Charging Station

Save your Tech Teams serious time by implementing a smart locker to collect broken devices. By designating a smart locker (such as the FUYL Tower 15) 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 with RFID access, 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 locker to swap their loaner device for the original device.

BONUS FEATURE OF A SMART LOCKER: Admins can monitor and record activity of the Tower, which reduces the need for extra human capital to manage this workflow.


 
 
Challenge: Summer Vacation = Nightmares of Device Storage, Charging and Redistribution

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

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 very easily.

In addition to mobile devices, open-concept carts can accommodate robotics, 3D Printers, VR Goggles and more. Plus, as tablet and laptop technology in schools changes, these types of universal carts 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. Quickly and easily transport and distribute devices throughout your school with hand-held device baskets, designed to accommodate five devices. You can see how schools are using baskets to cut down on device distribution time here:


Find the right charging solution for your school’s 1-1 challenges by clicking here.

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