Mount Horeb Area High School Modernizes Facility with Secure Public Charging On Demand

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Background

The Mount Horeb Area School District serves 2,500 students in grades PK through 12. They were undergoing construction of a brand new addition to their high school when they came across LocknCharge. Committed to making the new space “state-of-the-art everything”, the district’s Director of Technology found the new FUYL Tower 15 very appealing. After comparing options and exploring all the features, it was a clear choice. The FUYL Tower was quality product, well worth the investment.   

Challenge

Students needed a way to securely charge their devices in public areas of the school so that devices were not lost, stolen, or broken while charging. Outlets can be hard to come by and do not provide protection against breakage or theft. 

Solution

The FUYL Tower solution offers the best pathway to modernizing facilities across the entire district. Innovative, on-demand, centralized, and secure charging lockers offer total convenience without expensive infrastructure updates. The new addition is the perfect place to start infusing thoughtful 21st-century design and amenities.

Results

Wall outlet use is minimized, keeping devices safe and sound while charging.

Students are in control. Students use the centralized Towers to store and charge their devices behind a door that is locked using their personal RFID badge.

Mount Horeb is able to establish itself as an innovative district from all aspects. Their investments will help to increase enrollment, which will benefit the school long term.

A FUYL Tower in “Public Mode” is available for anyone who needs fast and secure charging on demand. Examples include students who need a device charge during the day, environments where devices are prohibited, or for students facing housing insecurity.

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FUYL Towers for Education

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Mount Horeb Area High School Modernizes Facility with Secure Public Charging On Demand
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Top 5 EdTech Trends to Watch

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Top 5 EdTech Trends to Watch

Usually, top trends lists are published at the beginning of the year. But there’s nothing usual about this year, especially when it comes to evolving trends. COVID-19 has become a catalyst for change, accelerating the adoption of digital technology across all industries. Under challenging conditions, education was completely transformed as schools scrambled to utilize the latest technology. That’s why we’ve decided to pause mid-year to reflect on what innovations in EdTech have recently emerged and what trends will likely stick around. 

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1. Immersive Learning Goes Mainstream

VR technology is an effective way to provide a personalized learning experience, enhance visual learning and save on physical equipment. Anecdotal evidence suggests that VR in the classroom increases students’ ability to retain information by 60-70%. It also allows training for hazardous jobs without exposure to high-risk environments. Furthermore, the mobility of technology ensures accessibility to world-class facilities for remote students without the burden of traveling or relocating.

Look for more institutions to adopt this state-of-the-art EdTech as VR headsets drop in price and immersive technology advances. Vocational education and training provider TAFE SA recently deployed 30 Lenovo Mirage VR headsets to aid education for their Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Servicing Courses. Students have a 1:1 approach with the headsets to explore and experience high-risk areas they would not ordinarily see as apprentices.

2. Distance Learning is Here to Stay

Even as schools reopen for in-person learning, administrators are extending remote learning plans. Sorry kids, if you’re in the New York City public school system, no more snow days spent sledding and building snowmen. Because NYC districts distributed hundreds of thousands of devices during the pandemic, snow days have been canceled and replaced with online learning days.

In addition, schools across the country are adopting a hybrid approach and online learning options to meet the needs of students who thrive academically in a virtual environment. According to a recent Rand Corp. survey, about one in five districts are considering adopting virtual school as part of their portfolio post-pandemic. 

3. 1:1 Goes Global

Sped up by school closures and remote learning requirements, many districts reached their 1:1 device-to-student ratio goals years ahead of schedule. Even if schools worldwide don’t yet have a device in the hands of every student, they have distributed millions more laptops, tablets and Chromebooks than ever before. Acquiring a device for each student has led to another emerging trend—. As students and educators go back to school this fall, their loaner devices will be returning too.

Those districts keeping their 1:1 ratio long-term will need to address how to best store, charge and secure their new devices without burdening school staff. One solution to set up your school for success is to invest in easy-to-cable open-concept charging carts. Pre-pandemic, technology carts helped make a limited number of computers shareable among multiple classrooms. Now, these same resources will take on a new role. Carts enable educators to plug in 30 or 40 devices without worrying about having tons of outlets in each classroom. Students leaving their devices at school overnight can take advantage of the secure storage benefits of tech carts and smart lockers. In addition to security, they offer an easy way to redistribute the devices at the start of the school day.

4. Digital Equity Comes into Focus

Procuring and handing out devices is only one side of the remote learning equation. In the US, 14% of students between the ages of 3-18 can’t connect to the internet at home. Unicef reports that worldwide, over 400 million students have no access to digital or broadcast lessons.

Innovative educators and community partners are hard at work bridging the digital divide to ensure no child misses out on learning. Many new programs have emerged—from Wi-Fi-enabled school buses in California to SIM-enabled internet dongles in Victoria. All aimed at delivering internet connectivity to underserved student households.

Achieving digital equity also relies on preparing for the inevitable. School-issued equipment used at home for remote learning or homework will break, and cables will go missing. District CTOs and CIOs have learned over the past year that they can’t assume students have a backup device. If a device is damaged, most students can’t participate in lessons—which puts them behind until they return to school for a replacement. A better solution is to deploy smart lockers such as LocknCharge FUYL Towers in public places throughout a neighborhood. Ideal locations are open after hours, such as a community resource center, a Boys & Girls Club or a local restaurant. Stocked with replacement devices, smart lockers offer secure storage, no-contact pickup and easy access 24/7. Once a student reports a device requires attention, a staff member can assign that student to a specific locker. Using an admin-defined PIN, the student can swap their broken device for a ready-to-use one. By spreading Towers throughout the district near transit hubs, no family has to travel farther than another, making this a more equitable option that reduces learning loss.

5. More Evidence-Based Procurement Decisions

When faced with stretched budgets, schools are getting smarter with their technology investments. According to ResourcEd, “Schools are much more likely to invest in technology based on evidence that it supports their school’s learning requirements and challenges.” Schools searching for tech that integrates easily within their existing infrastructure are looking for solutions that won’t quickly become obsolete.

Most technology in schools is replaced every 3-5 years. Investing in future-proof technology can have a significant impact on budgets and employees’ time. For example, imagine the costs and time your district could save by not replacing charging solutions every time new devices are rolled out.

The only certainty about the future of education is that it’s uncertain. The trick is to be ready for whatever scenario comes your way—including developing an EdTech plan that empowers students and teachers to focus on the task of learning. Learn how best to navigate educational technology in an ever-changing landscape.

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Smarter Device Management & Workflows with Former K12 and University Tech Leader

Join LocknCharge to learn how to streamline multiple student device workflows to save your IT Team valuable time and money by efficiently managing student devices.

Guest speaker, Will Reid, will offer his unique perspective on these device workflows, and how he related to these challenges as a former CTO at Pulaski County Special School District and DIT at Texas Tech University.

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7 Surprising Lessons We Learned During the Pandemic

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What a year it’s been. At the start of the pandemic, we scrambled to find the time to navigate a work from home world. We filled our days with setting up remote offices and the seamlessly unending homeschooling challenges while trying our best to keep our families fed and our kids entertained. After shifting gears and getting ourselves headed in the right direction, we have more time on our hands. We’ve gotten the hang of this whole Zoom thing, and we’re making good use of the hours we used to sit in traffic.

We won’t deny that we were a bit overwhelmed at first. But now that we’ve caught our breath, we can step back and reflect on the many positives that came out of the chaos. With some perspective, we understand that the hectic times helped us boil down what’s important and take risks we may never have taken otherwise. Most of all, we’ve realized how grateful we are for our personal and professional connections. Despite the physical distance, we’ve struggled and innovated, scrambled and prioritized, and cried and laughed—together. Now more than ever, we know our strength lies in our community.

Our team recently got together to review what we’ve learned over the past twelve months. We want to share with you a few of the surprising lessons that emerged from our discussion.

1. Nothing Can Replace a Face-to-Face Visit

In other words, we sure do miss you! In “normal” times, our schedules are packed with tradeshows and customer visits. The pandemic has taught us that every frenzied second spent planning these events and traveling around the world is well worth it.

While we’ve adapted with online meetings, video demos and instructional webinars, we’ve discovered that something is missing. And that something is the spectacular spontaneous collaboration that happens when we’re face-to-face with friends, customers and partners.

There’s no replacement for chilling and charging with thousands of imaginative educators at ISTE or healthcare heroes at HETT. In-person interactions at shows like these are where we’ve gotten many of our big ideas. At one past BETT show, customers told us how our Joey Cart could be enhanced. Based on their comments, we completely remodeled this multi-device charging station was with the end-user in mind. When we met with our long-time customer and partner, Putnam City Schools, we came away with their idea for the perfect product on the back of a napkin! 

2. Educators and Schools are Invaluable

While we knew this long before COVID, this past year has reinforced that teachers, faculty and support staff are invaluable. Educators worldwide stepped up to teach us that “school” isn’t a building. Many of us experienced first-hand what it’s like to be a teacher. We’ll let our kids tell you just how that went.

***SPOILER ALERT***

Let’s just say the #SchoolofLock made us even more thankful for superstar educators around the world!

3. Digital Transformation Went From Planning for the Future to RIGHT NOW

97% of executives say COVID-19 sped up digital transformation making it the digital accelerant of the decade. Check out these excellent examples of how both schools and organizations have risen to the occasion, innovating and making lemonade out of lemons.

To meet the exponential increase in traffic at drive-throughs caused by indoor dining closures, many fast-food and fast-casual restaurants have deployed hand-held devices to speed up the ordering process. One LocknCharge customer now moves 200 cars through their drive-through per hour when they equipped their employees with iPads charged and secured with Putnam Charging Stations.

At the start of the pandemic, the San Francisco USD Department of Technology quickly developed a plan for the safe and successful deployment of devices to nearly 5,000 educators. As part of this plan, SFUSD strategically placed four LocknCharge FUYL Tower Smart Lockers at the district’s centrally-located main office, where they could be accessed beyond regular office hours and even on weekends. Each bay is equipped with one ready-to-go device, which simplified the process of distributing and maintaining devices to three easy steps without the need for any face-to-face interaction or Help Desk interruption.

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4.  Who You Buy from Matters as Much as What You Buy

The 9-5 workday is obsolete. If an emergency happens, or you need support outside of what were once regular business hours, customer service and tech support must be available. The past year has highlighted the importance of partners over vendors who stand by you through tough times. Great partners commit to keeping projects on track and go above and beyond to provide the best outcome.

With tight budgets only getting tighter, great partners also ensure that your investment will be a good one for many years to come, offering future-proof products backed with a lifetime warranty.

5. The Use of Technology Kept Our Relationships Going

While nothing can substitute face-to-face meetings and human touch, the reality is that many of those interactions aren’t possible during a pandemic. Thankfully, technology has served as a vital link connecting teachers with students, doctors with patients and coworkers with each other. The frontline healthcare workers at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine also found that technology helps ease hospitalized patients’ discomfort.

After witnessing patients struggling while separated from loved ones, the resident physicians and medical students asked for donations of tablets to facilitate video conferences with family and friends. Through the #ConnectingThroughCovid initiative, countless expressions of love and prayers have been shared, easing loneliness and positively affecting lives.

6. Preparation Coupled with Flexibility is Key

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the past year, it’s that there’s no way to predict the future. However, you can pivot more quickly and smoothly with the right preparation and a willingness to adapt.

With a district-wide commitment to technology and a future-proofed tech plan, Chicago’s Arbor Park School District was well positioned with the sudden shift to remote learning.

In the past two years, Arbor Park made a complete shift from shared desktop computers and mobile devices to a 1:1 program. After rigorous research and setting up a forward-thinking infrastructure, they moved quickly, which has helped acclimate students and staff at an even pace with little pushback. According to David Termunde, the Chief Technology Officer, “the extensive teacher training and professional development on new devices and platforms has certainly paid off during COVID-19.”

In just minutes, they also tweaked their smart locker workflow to enable a no-contact pickup location for replacement devices. Just like an Amazon locker, a FUYL Tower was relocated to a publicly-accessible location within the school. Parents place orders from the district’s ecommerce site. The school then fulfills the order by placing it in a FUYL Tower compartment. Parents follow simple email instructions to unlock and pick up their requests from their assigned FUYL Tower locker number.

7. Hand AND Device Hygiene is Critical to our Well-Being

We’ve known for a while that you can help yourself and those around you stay healthy by washing your hands often. With the hoarding of cleaning supplies at the start of the pandemic, it became abundantly clear that another critical step towards good hand hygiene is routinely cleaning and sanitizing frequently touched surfaces. Proper sanitization methods of doorknobs, desks, and last but not least, our devices can reduce the risk of spreading germs.

Healthy hand hygiene and device hygiene go hand-in-hand. While it may seem logical to disinfect devices overnight, disinfecting once per day may not be enough to stop the spread of viruses. As germs are spread by users touching devices multiple times a day, sanitizing them more often can prevent cross-contamination. With that in mind, the launch of our latest innovative product in mid-2020 couldn’t have been timelier. UVone UV-C disinfection for mobile devices works in just 30 seconds, making sanitization six times quicker than traditional wipes. Also, UV-C light disinfects in a consistent manner, making it more reliable and efficient than wipes—plus, it does not degrade the integrity of devices over time. We’re proud to do our small part to help mitigate the spread of viral bacteria anywhere devices are being used or shared.

What did you learn over the past year? We want to hear your stories! Share your joys and challenges, and let us know what we can do to support you best. We’re here to listen and help strengthen our community.

 

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FSTEC Community 2020

FSTEC provides the restaurant industry with foodservice technology solutions and education. Check out LocknCharge’s breakout session from the 2020 FSTEC Community presented by Kevin Kuluvar and Josh Davis.

iPads in Restaurants: Reducing Costs and Creating Efficient Workflows

The food service industry is based on speed, efficiency and quality to delight their customers. With the growing use of iPads for mobile POS and curbside customer engagement, making sure they are available and charged is becoming a critical part of day-to-day restaurant operations. LocknCharge creates solutions to quickly deploy devices into the hands of those that need them, and efficiently manage the devices when not in use. Our products reduce the burden of managing iPads or other mobile devices, and allow restaurants to focus on serving their customers. 

Learn more about how LocknCharge helps restaurants deploy mobile technology on our dedicated restaurant page. 

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