With the help of JAR Systems' Essential 16 Charging Stations, Cleveland County Schools have been able to improve its classroom charging to alleviate strains for students and teachers. After implementing the new charging solutions, they saw positive results such as:
“We like that JAR Systems' products are clutter-free, have a clean aesthetic, and that the stations don't take up much space. Also, the stations are practically universal. We can use them with anything, which is a major benefit.”
Director of Technology Services
Cleveland County Public Schools
Addressing the Challenges of Maintaining a Growing Fleet of Devices
Cleveland County Schools is a school district located in Shelby, North Carolina, that serves approximately 14,500 students throughout 30 schools. Prior to 2018, many teachers were utilizing creative, do-it-yourself methods to maintain and charge small sets of devices in their classrooms. These methods included the use of dish racks, file folders, or simply stacking devices on a countertop with power strips. Other classrooms sharing larger device sets utilized mobile charging carts.
Beginning in 2018, the demand for educational devices in the district increased significantly. Classrooms began transitioning from 5 to 10 devices per classroom to 25 to 30 devices per classroom. This increase in demand for technology in the classroom and the larger fleet of devices created new challenges for charging and securing particularly at the grade levels where devices remained in class. In addition, the districts' mobile carts no longer needed to be shared, took up unnecessary amounts of classroom space, and their dish rack and file folder systems could not scale up to maintain a larger set of devices in the classrooms.
Cable management soon became a primary challenge as well. AC adapters laid out with power strips had the potential to create hazards in the classrooms and the adapters regularly went missing. The increased number of power strips with AC adapters was not only a safety concern but also created inefficient workflows for teachers, students, and extra maintenance for technicians. This prompted Director of Technology Services, Tim Wease, and his team to begin their search for the ideal charging solutions to address their districts' charging challenges.
Scaling Solutions to Accommodate a Greater Number of Devices
As large fleets of devices began to accumulate, the district ultimately turned to a solution that they previously deployed to a single classroom with a technology grant, the JAR Systems’ Essential 16 Charging Station. Tim Wease first discovered the then-new Essential 16 Charging Station on display at the NCTIES Conference in 2017 and liked its secure yet open design that would enable teachers to see that all devices are charging at a glance from across the room without having to open it up as they did with their charging carts. That same year, the technology team seized the opportunity to deploy their first Essential 16 Stations using a technology grant.
As noted by Tim Wease, “We’ve looked at many charging solutions, and I liked the fact that it was secure, as secure as you want to make it, but that you could still see if you're supposed to have 16 or 12 devices. If slot number two didn’t have a device, a teacher could see that from across the room without having to go back into the classroom and count the number of devices.”
Other benefits included the durability of the station. They appreciated that there are not a lot of breakable parts that might need to be serviced. The districts' techs learned to configure the Essential 16 Stations, which ship sub-assembled for efficiency, and developed a smooth process for deploying them. Considering the solutions’ capabilities and benefits, they decided that the Essential 16 Charging Stations would be the ideal solution to support more efficient and accessible 1:1 technology. They began to deploy more of the stations to accommodate the needs of their growing fleet of devices, which at the time, all stayed in the classrooms overnight.
The Benefits of Less Loss and Greater Peace of Mind
As a result of deploying the stations, the technology team has recognized a significant decrease in the number of AC adapters that go missing. Teachers have gained instructional time and are spending less time after class verifying the location of devices and AC adapters. Instructional Technology Coordinator, Ginger Jackson reported, “It’s nice having the peace of mind that the devices are all charged at the beginning of class.”
Wease notes, “It has helped us get devices closer to the end-user, not having to wheel carts to and from classrooms. It saved us money, from previously buying a cart to store 30 devices in a room, to now buying JAR charging stations and leaving them in the rooms. All while still at a lower price than what we would pay for a charging cart.”
One of the top reasons the district continues to work with JAR Systems is the level of support they provide, no matter how big or small their order is. The company works hard to meet their needs and is there when they are ready to engage in another project.
The Essential 16 Charging Station remains a popular choice in the district where principals are encouraged to choose the solution that best fits the needs of their school. In addition to the Essential stations, the district has started to deploy Adapt4 Active Charge solutions, portable 4-device charging stations that come loaded with Active Charge Power Banks. These are helping their students in schools with 1:1 take-home programs keep their devices active for class when they forget to charge them at night. The active charge solutions make charging at-the-desk a reality, while eliminating trip or fire hazards in the classrooms. This is especially helpful in the district's older buildings that do not have the electrical infrastructure to support many students charging in the same area.