15 Mar To Cart, Or Not To Cart, That Is The Question
1:1 classrooms are not only designed to give students equal access to information and technology; they exist to make life and learning easier. However, managing your school’s fleet of devices can get a bit tricky. One of the most important decisions is what to do with your mobile devices at the end of the day. Should your school cart them or send them home with students? When making the choice, costs, time, and student welfare should be at the forefront of your thoughts.
Let’s face it, students are accident prone and taking their school-loaned devices home only increases the odds of cracked screens and Mountain Dew spills. Whether you decide to cart or not, it’s necessary to invest in a mobile device repair program, but if your devices aren’t carted, you’ll likely be calling your device repair experts more frequently.
Investing in additional security software will also be a must. Though the prices vary depending on the number of devices, the kinds of devices, and the specific needs your school has, the dollar signs can pile up quickly.
However, carts can also be a significant investment. Charging carts that hold up to 32 devices range anywhere $350.00 to $1,500 per cart. Putting one in every classroom is a substantial commitment and potential budget-breaker. But the convenience and peace of mind just might be worth it.
Any decision your school makes regarding their 1:1 program should ultimately save time for everyone. If students take home their devices, teachers don’t have to worry about collecting them (or hunting students down) at the end of the day. In this scenario, the responsibility and care of the device is solely up to the student—this can be both good and bad.
With charging carts, students will always have charged, ready-to-use devices, which will largely eliminate instances of devices left at home, lost charging cords, and students simply forgetting to charge their devices overnight. This can be especially impactful if lessons require the use of their mobile device or involve online projects.
Keep in mind the quality of the charging cart. If teachers must spend their time untangling 32 wires at the end of class, this doesn’t help anyone and will interrupt class time. Consider a company like LocknCharge. They offer intelligent charging carts for a variety of mobile devices. Their carts are well-designed and easy to manage for teachers and students alike.
For many low-income students, access to mobile devices is an equalizer. Costs are a major factor preventing low-income families from purchasing devices and at-home internet. The result of this is what is known as the “homework gap”. 70% of teachers assign homework that requires use of the internet, yet 5 million households do not have internet access or cannot afford computers. Students in this situation are at an extreme educational disadvantage. While one of the major goals of a 1:1 classroom is to bridge the income gap, organizations that implement a “cart only” policy might not be helping low-income students. A hybrid program, allowing students below a certain income level or students in special circumstances, to take home their devices might be a great alternative.
In all, it is your organization’s decision to make. But be sure that your decision to cart or not considers your faculty’s time, your costs, and the individual needs of your students. If you have any further questions about carting, AppleCrossing is here to help!