Whether it is tablet or laptop, storage and recharging of equipment is such an important necessity for the classroom. You need your equipment full to the brim with power from first thing in the morning and need them to last until lessons are finished.
There are a couple of solutions for charging – either over night or when not in use in a secure storage unit; or at a desk, specifically designed for charging during operational hours, but the devices need to be securely locked away when not in use.
How manageable is your current set up?
Are you continually frustrated with devices not turned off properly, with devices not charging, students having to share equipment between two or three due to lack of power? If this is the case, then smart monitoring of your charging stations is a must, so that you can ensure all devices within the units are plugged in correctly.
There are many considerations to take when selecting device storage. Do you want:
- Storage that allows charging to happen whilst the machines are not in use?
- Simple overnight storage – no re-charge needed?
- A dedicated storage area, or are they going to be stored within various classrooms depending on where last used?
- Devices to be transportable from one part of the school to another?
- ‘Soft-start’ charging where not all the devices are charged on full power at the same time?
- Monitoring of charging units?
With so many questions, I am hoping the selection below will help you see through the multitude of metal boxes and help answer a few of them.
There are four main elements that need considering before you make your purchase:
Space; Security; Size; Power
Space & security – Where are you going to store the devices? Are they going to be in a locked room or will they need to lock within the unit themselves? The units need ventilation, so having them next to a printer, in a corner of an office, might not be the best solution. What volume of devices do you need? This is a huge consideration, as the space they need to take up to charge can be quite immense, and space is a premium in most educational establishments – so look at solutions such as wall mounting, stacking and portable.
Size – this is key to both static and portable units. If devices need to be transported from classroom to classroom, then an easy to move, slim unit is ideal. Too wide – and you might not fit through the doorframes. Too long, and it might not go around the corners. Too heavy – a staff member may be injured. If it is static – the space as discussed above is important to consider.
Power – To charge a volume of devices, you will need enough mains sockets available near to the storage solutions. So double check what is available in your chosen charging locations. If you have selected a unit with soft start charging, you will need fewer mains sockets available, ensuring that all devices are charged without overloading your circuit.
Smart charging solutions, such as the one supplied by Zioxi monitors the devices being charged. Once the devices are charged, the system turns off the charging automatically to prolong battery life.
Tablets – Different types of storage
Zioxi supply a compact, aesthetically pleasing solution for charging tablets, Chromebooks and small laptops – the OnView® Charging trolley. This is ideal for sharing devices with different classrooms and is easy to move around. I like the fact that it has an automatic shut off once all devices are charged, so it is eco-friendly too. OnView® is a piece of software that connects to your charging unit, it alerts you to devices not being plugged in, so you can be sure that all devices are accounted for and charging ready for the next day.
Probe Multidoor units charge devices in individual locker drawers (padlock, keypad or key). This works well with independent learning, as students are able to come and go from the unit as and when they need their tablet, whilst their Singledoor units are better designed for whole classroom usage. Each locker can have a power socket within it, so different types of tablet can be housed safely whilst charging, as long as the user remembers to bring their charger!
For primary schools, tablet baskets are ideal. LocknCharge® make iPad, ChromeBook and Android storage and transport simple and manageable. Using baskets, which hold 5 units, the tablets slot into the baskets, then the basket slots into the charging rack, which plugs into a single mains socket. Racks such as the Joey®, are portable and enable you to easily transport devices from one end of the school to the other.
Laptops – Making the most of your storage options
For whole school static storage, LapSafe’s Diplomat solution are a great option, as they are modular, more units can be added as needed. Having various locking options, can be used in secondary school as well as primary. Each locker has its own identifier, and using the SmartLine® charging solution, the laptop’s charger is inbuilt into the unit.
Zioxi also make modular units for charging laptops, as well as mobile units to go from classroom to classroom. Utilising USB C charging technology, the need for custom chargers for each laptop is now redundant. If however, your working with legacy product, then options are available to use manufacturer supplied power supplies. The OnView software allows you to schedule charging times for optimised power usage, enables you to check if the unit is locked, and that all docking stations are utilised.
We hope this blog helps with your decision making, there are many other manufacturers out there in the www, take the plunge and have a look, just remember the fundamentals when you are looking for your new storge unit– Space; Security; Size; Power.