It is no surprise that technology is increasingly at the forefront of the modern classroom. The introduction of mobile devices such as tablets and Chromebooks in educational environments shifts learning dynamics, how curricula are planned, and how students absorb information. While this enables new teaching methods that benefit students, administration staff must jump economic and logistical hurdles to ensure their classrooms see the upgrades with proper implementation to avoid wasted investments. Luckily, classroom technology carts and powerful new EdTech tools can assist.
I, your trusty Cart Guru, have some tips to help navigate through utilizing mobile charging carts to actualize your educational technology goals and increase your return on investment. Just as it is important to match the right kind of EdTech hardware and software, it’s also important to employ charging carts in a way that will make it possible to get the most from mobile devices and maintain focus on the lessons at hand.
What Good Are Devices That Are Not Available?
Educational devices and carts that are more available to teachers and students are more likely to be fully utilized. There’s nothing worse than a tug of war over devices and carts, or not being able to have devices fully charged or available when the time comes to use them. Being aware of the time it takes to charge a mobile device lends itself well to anticipating its future availability. Advanced charging systems are able to tell you how long devices must charge, letting staff members know when they can be used again.
Many school districts report that the management of devices additionally causes conflicts to flare up in the classroom. Consider buying a cart with features such as remote management compatibility or USB syncing. These capabilities allow for scheduled or automated imaging activity, such as updating and removing programs or applications on devices synchronously. This saves class time, increases device availability, and schools can save money that would normally be spent on hiring someone to update the individual devices manually.
The Keys to Quick Deployments
Effective cable management is important when choosing the right cart. Not only is it a hassle to detangle unruly cables, but choosing a cart that limits cable friction helps reduce cable damage. When cables become unmanageable or damaged, a school runs the risk of their electronic and computing devices not taking a proper charge or having to replace them.
The type of shelving in the cart you choose can also save time depending on how easily and quickly devices can be taken in and out. A cart with pull-out trays can even reduce repeated impact to the sides of devices by creating a zone for storage where devices can lay flat and can be easily accessed.
Sharing (and Transporting) Devices
Teachers often move their students to another classroom in order to use shared devices due to space and logistical issues. Valuable class time is lost during each transition. The distance between these rooms can vary greatly, and may even be located in separate buildings.
Mobile classroom carts easily solve this problem by quickly transporting and sharing technology. As your Cart Guru, I recommend taking the time to consider where your devices need to be transported to and the type of features in a cart that would easily facilitate that journey. If the carts must be navigated to a modular classroom, for example, a lighter cart will likely make the trip much easier.
Most schools must share devices between classes, which can lead to conflict when multiple teachers need them at the same time. An efficient scheduling system solves this problem by maximizing the time that the cart can be used, while tracking the location of the cart. Schedules allow teachers to book carts on a first-come-first-serve basis. Some methods to schedule a cart include:
Paper sign-out sheets
Google forms or calendars
Collaborative platforms, such as First Class
Keeping Technology Secure
Choose a cart with security features that will help protect and prevent theft of your school’s devices. Padlocks, combination locks and keyed locks are common mechanisms for securing carts. Master key options use two keys; one which allows teachers limited access and another that permits full access to administration. In addition, having a separate lock for wire management makes it harder to steal cables. These methods keep honest people honest, but it is always a good idea to lock rooms with carts in them when no one is there, or move all carts to a central location and lock it.
Investments That Will Serve You for the Long Haul
The versatility of the cart you buy impacts the length of time that your school will be able to use it. It is best to invest in a cart that can accommodate different types of devices. Hardware is constantly changing and this will prove useful in the future when your school has to update or purchase new devices. Purchase a cart that can charge current devices, future devices, and is able to mix and match devices. A cart that can support devices with different dimensions and cable styles is more likely to be around for the long haul!
Conclusion: Your Cart Should Be a Workhorse
Planning how to best utilize your mobile device cart may take some extra thought and consideration, as well as finding the right cart to best accommodate your school’s needs. Aim to purchase a well-designed, well-built mobile cart that will stand the test of time and will protect, secure, fully charge, and safely and conveniently transport your EdTech devices for years to come.
You will likely end up saving money because you’ve done everything to ensure the longevity of your devices. You can invest the savings in new devices, EdTech programs, or even another mobile cart! Just remember that the least expensive storage cart you see may not actually be the best for your school or for your devices.
As always, your Cart Guru is happy to furnish you with information on just what to look for when purchasing a cart. Let us know how it goes. For additional information on selecting the cart that is right for you, feel free to read our white paper, “7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Charging Cart.”