6 tips for making the most of your iPad and Chromebook carts

Scheduling conflicts and charging woes can make cart management tough. Here's to smooth rolling

Make the library a central cart hub

Dickson sees the school library as a central hub for media services and digital citizenship. With this in mind, he said the library can serve as the perfect, centralized location for cart management, storage, and scheduling. “From a logistics standpoint, libraries have become a focal point for schools in this digital age,” said Dickson. “If the library can oversee the movement and orchestration of the carts, you can gain a lot of leverage while at the same time enhancing the library’s already-important position on the K-12 campus.”

Do your homework before buying

Rob Fox, national sales manager at Bretford Manufacturing, said schools should factor in some key considerations before purchasing their carts. For example, the entire dimension of the mobile device—including spacing for the power adapter when plugged into the device—is an important point. Make sure there are external outlets for peripherals (i.e. printers, projectors, access point, laptop on top, etc.), he said, and factor class sizes into your actual plan for deploying/utilizing the mobile devices and carts. “Carts come in a wide variety of capacity sizes,” Fox said, “so ensure the capacity size meets the needs of the usage model.”

Learn the difference between timer charging and smart charging

Timer charging essentially rotates through “power banks” in pre-set time increments. Smart charging intelligently measures power demand and delivers power when and where it is needed. Another important differentiator between the two: Timer charging is less expensive than smart charging. When considering which carts to select, “It’s important to understand which power management system works best for a school’s specific needs,” said Fox.

Give teachers and students support in small bites

McEntire avoids overwhelming teachers with dozens of new mobile apps or usage tips for their devices, but she does want to help them get the most out of their cart-based iPads, Chromebooks, and laptops. To achieve this balance, she sends out a short list of “app recommendations” every Tuesday. “We’re a 9,000-student district with limited time for professional development, so it’s hard for our teachers to see all of the cool, new, fun apps that are out there,” said McEntire, who also works with students in the classroom, showing them how to use larger applications like Google Classroom, which the district started using in 2016. “That was a big transition for us this year, so I got in there and helped everyone adjust to it and start using it,” said McEntire. “I find that between the information sharing and the time spent in the classroom, we’re able to leverage our investment in carts and devices pretty well.”


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