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Start the School Year With a Clean Tablet

30 Jul 2015 by Heather Breedlove

According to the Speak Up 2014 National Research Project, 75% of students in grades 6–12 say it is important for them to use mobile devices in school. Just as students require supplies, care and feeding, so do the devices they use in their classrooms each day. Getting tablets ready is crucial for a successful start to the school year.

Evaluate current and new apps.

The learning needs of students change, and so should the apps on student devices. Decide which apps will make the cut–and which to delete–by using these tools:

Start with a fresh slate.

As more apps are added throughout the school year, devices run slower or lose valuable space for projects. The beginning of the year is a great opportunity to wipe the devices clean. These steps help create a “new” tablet:  

  • Update operating systems and apps
  • Revisit any restriction policies and settings
  • Restore the device to original district settings (this will also delete old student projects stored on the device)
  • Add apps that scored well on the evaluation rubric
  • Organize apps into folders based on grade level, subject area or purpose, such as presentation apps

Use storage for charging tablets.

Most schools store and charge their tablets in specialized carts. Ways to organize devices in a mobile cart include:

  • Number the slots in the cart
  • Apply a number to the outside of the cases
  • Customize the lock screen with the corresponding number
  • Use small totes to transfer devices safely from the device cart to classrooms for a shared device model

Take inventory.

Whether your district is 1:1 or using a shared device model, repairs or replacements will need to be made. The following tips help ensure devices are ready to use on the first day:

  • Order and replace cases or stylus pens as needed
  • Check the status of screens and charge cords
  • Ensure every device has a district barcode
  • If you use a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution like Cisco’s Meraki or Dell’s Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution, update tablets to the proper groups, delete tablets no longer in the system and manage apps.

Manage tablets, accounts and passwords.

Communication is key to keeping up with the ever-growing list of tablets, accounts and passwords. Use the following to manage account information:

  • Use a password manager like Keepass to store account information, passwords, passcodes and locations
  • Use cloud storage like Office 365 to access, share and secure information
  • If you use a district system, update all account information to reflect current tablet inventory

Teach staff how to manage tablets.

Whether the devices are managed by the IT team, teachers or a combination of both, have a plan on how new staff or teachers will learn to manage the tablets or use them in their classroom.

  • Provide a self-service website containing video and screenshot tutorials of important tasks like purchasing apps, district-approved lists of apps and how to add work email to teacher devices.
  • Utilize current staff to provide in-person training throughout the year to support district goals for student learning on the tablets.

Putting these strategies to work readies school tablets to be put in the hands of students, making a difference in their learning.

Helping students succeed takes more than a fresh tablet. Let Insight know if need a partner to help ensure you have the right devices in place and the infrastructure to support them.