Tag Archives: tablet management in education

The importance of safety certification for charging systems

YES_Dorothy

No doubt you have already been through at least one or two technology decisions for your school, choosing devices that will meet your student and curriculum needs. Just as you discovered that you weren’t always comparing Apples to eReaders, the same is true with the charging systems that keep your devices powered up and in play throughout the school day. There is a tendency to assume that all charging systems are safe, but this is not always true. In fact, all device charging systems are not created equal.

Therefore, it is equally important to choose a charging products that has been safety certified by a third-party organization and that the system is being evaluated as a complete and integrated system. It is important to require this of your supplier to ensure the safety of your devices, your facilities and your students.

Some manufacturers use individual components that are safety certified, but then combine them into a larger charging system that is not certified. Charging systems that are not evaluated and certified may exceed allowable load limits, thereby causing electrical arcing, facility problems and/or interaction and interference with other equipment. Safety certification also ensures that mechanical hazards such as user “pinch points,” tipping, sharp edges and crush/cut potential are mitigated.

What are the risks of using non-certified products? You may be surprised at how many there are. Here is a list of considerations when choosing the right systems for your campus:

  1. Critical materials are not fire resistant: This is a potential fire hazard if a battery or electrical fault occurs.
  2. Electrical hazards are not physically enclosed: Shock hazards exist if energized circuitry can potentially be touched either directly or if exposed metal is not safely grounded or properly isolated. Another fire hazard can exist if the enclosure can potentially let out flames or molten metal if an electrical fault occurs inside of the enclosure.
  3. Mechanical hazards are not mitigated: If not properly tested and certified, pinch points, tip, crush or cut, sharp edges, and moving parts can injure students and staff.
  4. Equipment ratings must meet National Electrical Code: Non-evaluated systems may exceed allowable load limits causing electrical arcing, facility problems and/or interaction and interference with other equipment.
  5. No manufacturing factory quality surveillance: Product quality and consistency must be managed and ensured.

Whether you are a choosing a small desktop unit for a back office, a wall unit for an AV center, or a full cart for laptops, tablets, Chromebooks, or netbooks in the classroom, safety should be a number one priority for all the stakeholders involved. Technology is meant to open up new worlds to the students, not new headaches for teachers and IT staff. Look for the certified safety labels or documentation and be sure to differentiate the whole system is safe.

Check out the educator resources on our website, including a grant writing kit, to power up every classroom safely and securely. Also, our charging matrix (PDF) can help you choose the right solution for your environment.

Bob Hill, Ergotron’s Global Education Manager

Bob Hill, Global Education Manager, @LearnFit_Bob

Bob Hill, @LearnFit_Bob

The Classroom of the Future is Here

Sit-Stand On-demand with ErgotronFor decades, if you walked into a classroom in New York City or in rural Montana you would see the same thing: a teacher at the front of the room writing on a chalkboard and lecturing to students seated at desks with textbooks in front of them. Now, with the use of technology expanding quickly, classroom layouts and dynamics are changing. 

Here are a few ways that the “classroom of the future” is finally here:

  • Schools are now making the switch from heavy texts and library books to electronic versions on tablets.  While cost is the main driver of this move, electronic books also help schools offer the most up-to-date versions.  Along with tablets, classrooms also need ways to keep these tables charged, synced and updated for everyday use. Here are some products they are using to manage these devices.
  • Schools are exploring ways to gets students AND staff on their feet more often. Just last week, in addition to categorizing obesity as a disease, the American Medical Association announced that mounting evidence shows sitting around for long periods of time is unhealthy and has called on employers to find alternatives to help employees stay fit and healthy.  But children are also at risk from unhealthy lifestyles. At a time when more than 17 percent of the nation’s children are obese and schools are beginning to order larger chairs to accommodate them, there is also a move to have them stand more in the classroom. Sit-stand workstations help increase physical activity levels while providing outlets for energy not commonly found in the traditional sedentary classroom or lab environment.
  • Technologically-advanced classrooms are also employing virtual field trips and classes through advanced video-conferencing technologies. These advances make it easy for classrooms to “travel” to new places, have conversations with classrooms in other countries, and explore new cultures. In rural or remote locations, specialty teaching resources that may otherwise be limited to only one physical location can be explored.
  • Teachers are now using advancing technology to turn daily lectures into homework. This allows more time in the classroom for kids to work on interactive projects and get help from the teacher, resulting in what is called “flipped” classrooms. Having flexible work environments in the classroom to facilitate this collaborate interaction is key, as are flexible computing tools to accommodate the type of digital homework required.

All of these advances can help students get the most out of their education each day and provide educators the opportunities to do things never before possible. New advances continue to propel us further into the future of education, and while the landscape may appear different, the traditional educational goals are the same – to engage learners and promote healthy learning styles for all involved.

Ergotron is at the ISTE Conference 2013 in San Antonio this week showing off some of the latest in device management and education-related products. If you are there visit us at Booth 6208 or follow along at @ergotron.

Tablets, tablets, tablets…the main story at FETC in FL

Bob Hill, North America & EMEA Channel Marketing Manager @ Ergotron

From what I heard at FETC in Florida, show attendance was up over last year. Ergotron education products were placed in the CDWG, Dell, GovConnection and SHI International partner booths, but the one product that was garnering the most attention? As you might guess, Ergotron’s Tablet Management Cart (TMC). 

It is evident that tablets are just now hitting a critical mass and acceptance by IT directors within schools. These teams are now seriously considering large rollouts, or have just purchased fleets of tablets. In many cases, it is a brand new venture for them and there is some education required to learn how to logistically manage them. 

Over and over again I heard, “We just bought 2,500 iPads…” Or, “We are looking at rolling out tablets to all of our students…” 

These conversations were great and very invigorating, often encompassing the larger tablet ecosystem:

At this point, schools already seem to know whether they are going the route of school-owned devices or bring your own device (BYOD) or a hybrid of both. BYOD makes for a nice buzzword, but is not the clear winner yet. 

In our research we knew how the Tablet Management Cart fit with schools that own and manage their own USB-charging devices, but I also learned that our 16-tablet stand-alone modules have a really nice fit in BYOD environments.

The example I heard several times is that the module can be used as a charging station in a library or media lab setting in which a student could securely hand their personal USB-charged device to a librarian behind a counter who would then “coat check” it for the student.

Here are the Tablet Management Cart features most attendees were excited about, FYI:

  • USB tablet/device charging cart
  • Small and agile (multiple times: “Oh, it’s so cute.”)
  • Charging technology (contrasted against timer-based)
  • Mass syncing (only pertained to iPad audiences using iTunes)

We will be blogging more about tablet adoption in schools. Having a clean understanding of mobile device management software can help accelerate adoption/acceptance of mobile devices whether school-owned or BYOD. Is your school heading toward tablets?  We’d love to hear more about your experience.