All Charged Up

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Post by Thilo Lutzeler, LAR/VAR Segment Manager

Guess what!? Another district in your territory has embraced Bring Your Own Device Initiatives (BYOD)! And they’ve thought of everything. They’ve updated the wireless infrastructure, tackled user authentication and device provisioning issues, beefed up their array of cloud-based apps, and hammered out an acceptable use policy for students. Hopefully, they are also communicating to teachers exactly how the influx of personal devices will elevate students academically. Expectations soar. Will students be more engaged? Will it foster greater collaboration? Will assignments be more customizable for different learning styles? Will students become lifelong learners? Or will they run out of juice?

One of the unexpected challenges faced in many BYOD initiatives is that students often bring devices to school that aren’t fully charged. Classrooms tend not to be set up to accommodate a lot of extra electronics. Avid young learners, hunting around the room for places to plug-in, will be disappointed and perhaps tempted to unplug more frivolous consumers of electric current… like the teacher’s computer. Teachers are also discouraged from ‘daisy-chaining’ power strips or surge suppressors to plug multiple devices into one or two outlets, as this can be a violation of fire codes and could have adverse effects on devices attached to the chain.

So what to do? A quick answer is, of course, to make rules. Most schools’ mobile device use policies now feature stern language, warning students that the place to charge batteries is at home. Never ones to miss an opportunity to imbue a good life lesson, teachers recognize a low battery light as a teachable moment: learning to charge your device each evening surely instills such virtues as discipline and responsibility.

At The Douglas Stewart Company we believe that building character in this way is commendable, but so is powering up. Schools are experimenting with different ways of circumventing a chaotic scramble for outlets. In some classrooms with existing stationary PCs, universal USB portable power packs are made available. In fancier settings, schools are looking at wired furniture and completely new room configurations that transform a classroom into something more akin to an airport executive lounge. A new system that we’re getting a lot of positive feedback on is Lock ‘n’ Charge® FUYL Cells. Along with being a modular/scalable charging solution with a footprint adaptable to the requirements of each classroom, FUYL Cells offer the added benefit of secure storage to minimize theft. Take a look at FUYL Cells and our other offerings that support mobile device initiatives  in schools.

And join the conversation, tell us what you’ve seen that works!

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