Category Archives: Care and Use

AVID Fishbone can save your headphones

AVID Education recently launched the new Avid FISHBONE headset adapter designed to save your headphones and/or device when the cord gets pulled out incorrectly:

Avid FISHBONE

AVID Fishbone

From the manufacturer:

Pin Breakage Reduction
The Fishbone TRRS adapter is AVID’s response to the pin breakage problem experienced across the audio industry by companies of all sizes.
This flexible breakaway TRRS adapter helps prevent pin breakage inside expensive electronic devices when a
student pulls mistakenly yanks the cord when standing rapidly or when a device falls on the ground.
Inspired by the swimming motion of fish, the Fishbone bends in the middle across the ribs while rotating in the device’s jack.
This flex-and-bend reorients the Fishbone’s jack in the direction of the pulling force allowing the headphone pin to disengage
without causing damage.
Available in any color as long as it’s black, the Fishbone is part of AVID’s targeted approach to increasing time on
learning by reducing technology failure.

This product complies with applicable CPSIA and TPCH regulations.

Solving Organizational Challenges With Califone CA-2 Headphones for Individual Storage

Any teacher or administrator will tell you that organization is the key to classroom success. Organization not only creates an efficient classroom, but it can also reduce stress in students and teachers. As teachers incorporate digital devices and equipment into their lesson plans, tech organization is no exception.

Technology equipment, however, can be difficult to sort and keep tidy. With attached cables and cords that commonly tangle together, objects like headphones are difficult to keep together without incident. And when models are all the same, it can be hard for administrators to assign headphones to students without adding permanent labels to the headphones. This can become a problem later on when inventory systems change or new devices are added.

To help teachers, administrators, and tech specialists stay on top of their organization efforts, Califone provides a different solution: the Califone CA-2 headphones for individual storage. These lightweight stereo headphones come with a personal bag that has an attached labeling area, making it easy to assign a name or number without physically marking the headphones. This easy labeling ensures that students will hold on to their assigned headphones as well as help IT specialists update records accurately. In addition, the individual storage of each headphone makes it easy for teachers to store headphones together on a shelf or in a box, without worrying that the cords will tangle together. This neat and efficient storage system will save teachers valuable time that can be better spent in the classroom.

However, these bags are more than just a labeling tool. The moisture-resistant storage bag also kills head lice within 24-48 hours, making each set safe for reuse. Reducing lice outbreaks is an important safety measure every classroom must take, so knowing that the headphones are safe for use is one less worry for students and teachers. It will also save a school money from buying new replacements. The bags also prevent lice from spreading among students, because teachers can track the bags with ease.

The headphone cable can withstand regular use and hard tugs due to the permanently attached and reinforced straight cord. Teachers will not have to worry about attaching the correct cables, making the headphones easy to use at any moment. The cable length (6 feet) also allows a user to move around freely while reducing accidental tugging or pulling that typically occurs with shorter cables. Plus, the recessed wiring keeps student fingers from prying the cables out, which protects both the student and the headphones from harm.

In addition, Califone CA-2 headphones are easy to use and adjust for any student. With the adjustable headband, students can make sure the headphones stay nice and snug without pinching. The foam earpads provide extra comfort to students and are easy to replace with new pads are needed. The noise-reducing on-ear style of the earcups also keeps students on task and free from any exterior distraction. This  on-ear style also diminishes the need to raise the listening volume to a dangerous level, which will protect the students’ hearing. Made with ABS plastic, these headphones are durable and easy to clean with disinfectant spray or wipes, making them a perfect listening tool for a germ-free classroom.

Overall, these headphones will serve every classroom’s basic sound needs while promoting a clean and organized environment. And with your purchase of the Califone CA-2 headphones through Encore Data Products, your headphones come with a guaranteed warranty for school use. For its great price and quality, the Califone CA-2 headphones can help every classroom with their basic listening needs. To learn more about the Califone CA-2 headphones or comparable models, contact us. For schools looking at the many options for common core headphones, we have specialists standing by. We can help you find the right model and listening system for your school.

What To Incorporate in an Education Technology Recovery Plan

As more schools and districts evolve their classrooms with digital and wired technology–and as standards in education seek to incorporate technological tools and resources–it’s important to prepare your digital assets for the future. This would include any type of physical, internal, or security risk. A disaster recovery plan is a much-needed strategy for budding IT offices that will be in charge of multiple devices, networks, and systems. But with our 4-step guide to disaster recovery, we can help you make sure that all your devices and equipment are prepared for any dangers they might face.

encore data products technology recovery planStep 1: Identify the risks in order to take preventative measures.

It’s important to know what your technology will face, in order to prepare for them. For example, they could be physical, external risks: students carrying and bringing home their Chromebooks or iPads are prone to damaging them through drops and typical accidents. Or, they might be internal, such as viruses or compromises to data security. It’s helpful to start understanding your current risks, in order to address them with appropriate solutions, such as tablet cases, new virus blocking software, or security controls that require administrative permissions for downloading material. By developing a list of risks, you can begin to design a plan that will help protect your devices and data, and resolve problems more quickly.

There are some things you cannot predict, however, such as a new virus that could override your current blockers or a bug that critically damages saved files on a device. However, creating a list of risks will help you stay on top of security, data, or physical threats to your equipment, and help maintain your devices for longer.

Step 2: Inventory all assets, and monitor their software or hardware upgrade needs.

You need to know what devices you have, in order to know which ones are the most important to recover and maintain first. For example, you are more likely to afford the repair and downtime for an iPad that is infrequently used or can be replaced by a second iPad in stock, but there would be greater urgency and need for an entire set of classroom Chromebooks that have been damaged by an old syncing cart.

In addition, you will want to indicate which systems need security checks; software or hardware updates, or even predicted end-of-life timelines in order to phase out old models and bring in new ones when possible. This will help you keep your assets in-line and prepared for any type of disaster or emergency.

Step 3: Realize your recovery objectives.

In the event that your devices fail–maybe from a problem syncing data to the cloud, accidental data loss from a storm, or from upgrades that cause problems or malfunctions with your current software–you want to have recovery objectives in mind. The two most important recovery objectives to have is recovery time and recovery point. Recovery time objectives set your goal for how long your devices or services can be down before it becomes a costly issue, and what you need to have in advance to reduce downtime. Recovery point objectives, on the other hand, help you decide how much data you can lose, and what needs to be recovered first to maintain the most important programs, data, and more.

Step 4: Develop your disaster recovery guide and implement training.

With your objectives set, it is now time to develop your step-by-step guides for your disaster scenarios, how you divide tasks and responsibilities among your team and record any new changes to your assets list. You will also want to schedule tests of your plan to make sure that you can recover your devices within a certain time frame.

By developing a disaster recovery plan, you’ll be able to maintain your educational technology devices and prepare for their ever-changing field. To learn more about devices that can help you maintain all your devices, contact us.

Maintenance Tips: Caring For Your High End Headphones and Equipment

When it comes to your high-end headphones and electronic devices, proper care and maintenance can go a long way to preserving its quality and character. Here’s our ultimate guide to carrying for all types of equipment, simply and quickly for the best results.

High-End Headphones, Earbuds, and Speakers

Keeping headphones and earbuds clean are key to allowing comfortable use without the threat of spreading germs, especially when used in a classroom, learning lab, library, and hospital. Quality over-ear and on-ear headphones with leatherette pads–like the AVID Education Headphones–are easy to clean with a disinfectant spray or wipe. 

Earbuds should also be cleaned, especially when they are used frequently on a daily basis, and while working out. A toothbrush is a great tool for dislodging dirt in the earbud grill by brushing it gentry while the earbud grill is turned towards the ground. The dirt will fall out of the buds with this method, instead of getting pushed back into the earbud.

In addition, you should not forget your speakers: with fabric grills on computer speakers, you can simply use a lint roller, which will help reduce dust clogging the speaker and getting on the sensitive interior.

Jacks and Ports

Headphone jacks are commonly overlooked as a place to clean, but this port gets dirty quickly from constant insertion and extraction and corrodes over time when grime gets pushed against the connections. It is important to clean the headphone jack, because cleaning reduces premature wear on the jack and hearing clear, quality audio (if you start hearing scratchy noises, it could be from dust and grime stuck in the jack). However, the headphone jack is very easy to clean with an interdental brush, which fits perfectly in the jack without being too harsh.

Ports are also important to clean; because a dirty port can affect file transfers and damage plugged-in devices like USBs or HDMI cables. A small, soft paintbrush or the interdental brush can also be used to clean the ports without damaging the sensitive connection.

Device Screens

Cleaning device screens on your computer, laptop, phone, or tablet not only gives you clearer images, but also it prevents dust from settling down on the screen and damaging it with scratches. All you need is a microfiber cloth and a safe cleaning solution. Make sure the device is turned off first before you begin wiping the screen down. As always, do not spray directly on to the screen: instead, use a cleaning spray first on the microfiber cloth to get it slightly damp, then take the wipe and use it gently. To maintain a clean screen, simply use a dry microfiber cloth, or even a coffee filter. If you happen to be without a microfiber cloth, a simple paper coffee filter is gentle enough to not hurt the screen, but remove the dust with ease.

You will also want to replace the plastic screens on devices like your iPhone, iPad, or Android phone or tablet at least once a year, depending on the state of the plastic. These plastic covers can retain sticky gunk, or over time collect scratches or produce air bubbles as the plastic ages. Replacing them with a new plastic screen will create a better seal to completely protect the screen.

Keyboards and Cameras

The same materials you used for cleaning your ports and screens can be recycled for cleaning your keyboards and built-in cameras. A soft make-up brush is great on the sensitive small cameras on your phone, and a microfiber cloth is best to wipe down the entire keyboard. For the smaller spaces around the keys, you can brush dirt off first with a soft paintbrush, then take a q-tip dipped in a little rubbing alcohol to remove gunk around the keys.

Regular cleaning and maintenance is key to ensuring a long-lasting product, whether its your high-end earphones for gaming, or your work keyboard. For more tips on care and maintenance, contact us.

The Advantages of Headphone Covers

Protecting your tech assets is a must for any institution, especially a classroom, hospital, listening center, museum, and more. Keeping items like your headphones in good shape can help extend their life, and allows for more people to enjoy them without any downtime. That’s why we recommend headphone covers for institutions that provide headphones to large groups, or when their headphones receive a high traffic of users. Not only do they extend the life of the headphones, but they can also be a great way to reduce germs and bacteria from spreading through your devices. Here are the details that can make those headphone covers worth your purchase.

Covers are a protective feature, especially for high-use, high-end headphones.

Headphone covers can provide a bit of support when it comes to keeping headphones in pristine condition. Like the plastic screen that covers a smartphone screen; the headphone covers are a thin barrier that will keep pads from becoming scratched, protect from minimal moisture, and block dirt and grime.

Many high-end, over- or on-ear headphones are made with leatherette pads, which are very comfortable. However, these pads can be slowly worn down by day-to-day use, especially when there are multiple people using them throughout the day. The leatherette also can become sticky and slick with sweat after long-term use.

Headphone covers solve these issues by becoming a small barrier for the pads. With each person using their own disposable headphone covers, keeping them covered will remove and reduce sweat, and protect the leatherette earpads continuous rubbing from wear.

Covers are a great way keep headphones clean and sanitized for multiple users.

Because many headphones are shared among various people, it can be hard to keep track of when they were lasted cleaned. Headphone covers are a worry-free option that will keep them clean. In addition, headphone covers are vital to the hospital and healthcare industries, where sanitation is key to maintaining healthy patients. Paired with sanitizing wipes for regular cleaning, the headphones will not pose any risk of transferring germs or bacteria to other patients.

Many types of covers are hypoallergenic, making them safe for all.

Many protective earpad covers are made using 100% polyester fiber, which is hypoallergenic. This makes it a great option for large audiences and users, in which you will not have to worry about a user’s allergies.

They are a cheap investment that goes a long way.

Headphone covers are relatively cheap and disposable, making them a smart choice due to their effectiveness when compared to their cost per count. They also save time on maintenance and cleaning: simply throw them away and replace them, without needing to buy a cleaning solution or taking time to wipe them down. For busy institutions like libraries, simply having them out and available to users by your listening stations will encourage their use, and save your staff some time from cleaning equipment every day or every week.

Types of Headphone Covers

You can find headphone covers suitable for all types and sizes. Since many headphone covers have an elastic band, they can easily be stretched over various types, even if you have numerous models in your inventory. It’s just important to know the diameter of your headphones, whether they are on-ear or over-ear. And since most headphone covers are made with polyester, it’s hypoallergenic.

As headphones get traded from one listener to the next, the headphone covers can help minimize damage to the earpads, reduce overall wear, and remove any risk from internal damage by minimizing dust and dirt from entering the headphones. Overall, they make a great addition to a classroom, listening center, library, and hospital. To go over your headphone cover options, contact us.

The Gumdrop Drop Tech Case for iPad – 10 Pack

A school that offers iPads for student use has many challenges to overcome and at the top of the list is securing that expensive technology. As we’ve covered in our 1-1 iPad program guide, it’s important to make sure that your iPads have a sturdy, durable case. For students who will be using their iPads within and outside of the classroom, a rugged case can help ensure care of their iPads, as well as reduce instances of repairs and replacements, saving your technology department time and money. For a great case, the Gumdrop Drop Tech Case for iPad is a great option to consider.

Gumdrop is an American company that provides quality cases for smart phones, tablets, and laptops. Their Drop Tech line was made for rugged environments, and is commonly used in schools, worksites, hospitals, and more.

The cases in this 10-pack come with an integrated screen cover, protecting screens from cracks and scratches. This is an important part to the case, as cracked screens are some of the most common damages to iPads, and can be a costly repair. Paired with a snug, polycarbonate frame, the cover and frame also help prevent liquids from entering the case, keeping it safe from spills or accidental drops in water. This seal also helps make it easy for teachers to disinfect the iPads with a disinfectant spray or wipe.

The black silicone outer case that protects the entire iPad on all sides is made from a dual rubber material construction, which gives the case multiple layers for shock absorption. These added layers help protect the iPad by distributing the shock more evenly, which leads to the iPad itself untouched by the drop. In addition, the corners of the iPad have extra padding with reinforced rubber bumpers. Since the corners are the weakest spot for iPads and iPhones, they are the most vulnerable to cracks when dropped. The reinforced corners again redistributes the shock to keep the iPad from cracking. The silicone skin is also hand-rubbed with TUV oil for dust protection, yet retains its grip to stay on table tops. Overall, the rubber case also facilitates better grip, especially for children with smaller hands. Though the cases have a thick construction, their snug fit and relatively slim design will allow your iPads to fit most charging carts with the case on.

The case also has protective features for ports, buttons, and camera components. The port covers for charging and listening help keep dirt, water, and other types of debris from damaging these sensitive areas. In addition, the button covers help protect these parts from rough handling and touching, which can be important for younger kids. There is also a flash ring, to help protect the camera and flash.

Though the cases in this 10-pack do not come in different colors, you can easily add labels to the case of differentiation or to assign specific iPads to students. For color-coded cases, we recommend our Hamilton offerings.

Overall, these cases are a great investment for all K-12 classrooms, and can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. The Gumpdrop Drop Tech line is built to last, so assigning them to your iPads can mean a significant drop in repairs or maintenance. In addition, they will help lengthen the return on your iPad investment. To learn more about rugged cases for your technology, contact us. We can help you find the best cases for your school district or business today.

Steps for Setting Up a 1-to-1 iPad Program in Your School or District

Setting up a 1:1 iPad program at your school can expand the educational programs that your school provides, but involves a lot of preparation. From ordering the iPads and accessories, to establishing the a network that can support peak usage, to ensuring responsible usage, schools and districts have to consider a lot of factors before deployment day. Here’s our checklist for how to set up a 1-to-1 iPad program in your school or district for the smoothest deployment come distribution day.

Planning and Preparing for a 1:1 iPad Program

1.Make sure your networks are capable of handling the number of connected devices. Be prepared to order enough bandwidth for devices, especially during the first days of deployment. Those days are crucial, since students, educators, and administrators will be utilizing their iPad for various tasks. One of the biggest mistakes that districts make include not having enough bandwidth for all their devices connected at peak times, which leads to downtime and frustration. And for many schools that must request funding before changes are made to their bandwidth plans, requesting more money initially to cover a higher gig bandwidth plan is better than finding out later that you need more bandwidth and having to get additional budget approval. In addition, consider the expansion of WiFi coverage, and the ease of use and responsiveness of your WiFi provider.

2. Purchase protective cases. When considering what other accessories your iPad will need, protective cases and screen covers are a must. This is especially important for 1:1 iPad programs that allow students to take their devices home. By buying cases and installing them before deployment or the day of deployment, you’ll drastically reduce your need for repairs or replacements when placed in students’ hands. Lengthening the life of the devices will save your budget in the long term.

3. Prepare usage policies and tutorials for day of deployment. Many districts require that students and parents sign-off on user agreements and disclaimers. Have your teachers and staff ask these questions in order to develop these policies: What is considered inappropriate use of the device? What limits do students have when downloading online material or installing their own apps and customization? What security features should devices have? How much administrative control can teachers have? Having these policies in place, and their documents ready for the day of deployment, is important to clarifying the use and care of the devices.

In addition, it can be helpful to have instructional tutorials about using the iPad or particular programs that are downloaded on them for the students. Work with teachers and your IT team on organizing tutorials to teach students about their iPads and other necessary equipment. You should also consider providing information and training for the parents so that they can set up parental controls and learn how to monitor their child’s iPad use and school coursework progress.

4. Have a labeling system in mind. Identification will be important for keeping your iPads accounted for and organized. Some schools might benefit from utilizing barcodes, while others might find that removable labels placed on cases are more helpful for the classroom’s needs. Whatever you decide, make sure that you’ve detailed this process so that all your iPads will be accounted for under the same standards.

Day of Deployment and Onwards

When it comes to the day of assigning iPads, having a set timeline and area for deployment will allow for smooth assignment of the iPads. Create a game plan with teachers and iPad administrators to organize times and places for the iPads to be distributed.

If you did not pre-install and label iPads before deployment, the day of deployment is a good time to teach students and teachers how to put on a protective case and label them. An iPad safety and care tutorial would be a welcome time for case assignment to happen.

After each student and teacher has his or her iPad, the upcoming days are a an important time to monitor bandwidth usage, and also get feedback on the connectivity of your network. This can help you understand and anticipate for when you consider growth down the road.

Deploying a 1:1 iPad program at a school or district invovles a lot of planning and effort, but the trade off in educational and technological expansion pays off in the long run. To get a hold of supplemental materials for your iPad program, contact us. We can help you prepare and support your iPad program, no matter its size.

Acer Chromebook Hard Case C720/C740 by Gripcase


EDP New Product Showcase (Acer logo, Chromebook logo). Affordable, secure and easy to use, more schools than ever are turning to the new Acer Chromebook C720 & C740 models. Now- the next question… What’s the best way to protect your school’s investment? Introducing the new Gripcase Asset Armor case for Acer C720 & C740 Chromebooks. Asset Armor cases are constructed of super-lightweight yet impact-resistant materials and feature textured surfaces for improved handling. Slim overall dimensions ensure easy portability and charge cart compatibility. The “Always On” design ensures maximum 360 degrees of protection while allowing access to all ports. With unparalled portability, handling and protection Asset Armor is designed to enhance and expand your digital curriculum. So how do you get your Gripcase? Encore Data Products. Call us at 866-926-1669 or visit us on the web at encoredataproducts.com Don’t delay! Protect your investment today!

PARASYNC i30 Now Supports iPod Touch 6G

PARAT Solutions has released a revolutionary system to charge and synchronize up to 30 devices without cables. The PARASYNC i30 will simplify the use of iPods in education and museum applications and is compatible with most iPod and iPhone models and generations, including the iPod Touch 5G and 6G.

iPods are increasingly utilized in education, museum and tour industries. In education, teachers are using iPods to plan their lessons, deliver content via audio-books and administer quizzes. Museums and other tour destinations can use iPods to allow patrons to access self-guided tours and other exhibit content.

What to Expect

The PARASYNC i30 dock connects to a wall outlet for power and easily connects to your Mac with the supplied cable. Once connected and powered up, open iTunes or Apple Confiurator to choose the programming you want to sync to the devices. The dock features LED indicator lights to display that the devices are charging, syncing or fully charged.

Protection and Support

Rugged iPod Touch cases are included, so you don’t have to worry about finding a case that is compatible with the PARASYNC i30 dock. In fact, many third party cases will not work with the dock. The receiver in the dock is molded to support the iPods and provide easy docking and device support. The dock is software-neutral and work with a variety of mobile device management applications.

encore top trend 08122015

How to Make the Best of Classroom Headphone Storage

If you are a teacher or administrator in a school or library, there is a high chance that technology and headphones are a part of your toolkit. Storing multiple pairs of headphones in a manner that keeps them clean, safe and yet easy to access is a challenge. Never fear, we have many great solutions for the best classroom headphone storage.

The Listening Center

If you were fortunate to receive your school classroom headphones as part of a listening center, you may have a headphone storage solution built in to your center package. If you are in the purchasing phase, this might be a great option to consider. Listening centers come in wired and wireless varieties, so you can choose the solution that works best for your classroom. Both Califone and Hamilton Buhl offer lab packs with up to 30 headphones and a storage case. If you have not yet purchased your headphones, consider buying them as part of a listening center or lab pack. Many of these options come with a storage case. In addition, the headphones sold as part of a package vary widely. You can choose on-ear or over-the-ear headphones. You can choose mono or stereo headphones or models that have the ability to switch between the two formats. The Titanium series headphones from Califone offer a lifetime guarantee on the headphone cords. You can choose headphones with in-line volume control, mute and on/off switch. Some models are primed to work best with iOS, Chrome or Windows hardware. Headsets with an attached microphone are available. The type of storage solution included may affect your decision: there are toolbox style cases, metal racks, suitcase style cases and a variety of noise canceling options in listening centers, too. With so many options, we can help you find just the right solution for your classroom or library, just ask.


The Storage Case

If you’ve got the headphones but are in need of a place to keep them, check out our selection of cases, bags and racks. Hamilton offers a tool-box style case and a steel rack to keep your headsets organized. Califone offers a wide range of storage options for headphones and your larger tech gear.

More Storage Ideas

If your budget is small or previously allocated and you still need a storage solution for your supply of headphones, we’ve got you covered! Check out these storage solutions from Pinterest.

28881c59dac159082a14e0ada16f7368Do you know someone who is crafty with PVC? PVC can be turned into a number of different storage units, including a rack for your over-the-ear headphones! We’ve also seen PVC pipe used to store yoga balls, colored pencils, ribbon and playground equipment.

132e3bf048ff468aeb82e039c9c00680Got earbuds? There is nothing worse than a big pile of earbuds with cords twisted together. Here is a clever way to use a jewelry case to keep them – and all those cords – organized. Jewelry cases are inexpensive and can also be used to store small rewards, erasers and treats in the classroom.

da886bb6af02cbab8054f62b0e8e9e7fThe variety of repositionable hooks on the market today is astounding. Take a look at your favorite home or craft store to find a style that will work best for you and create a wall storage unit for your headphones. You can position the headphones above computers, tucked out of the way, or create a cozy listening corner like this one.

Whether you are creating a new classroom listening nook or replacing old school classroom headphones with a new listening center package, we’re here to help! Contact us at Encore Data Products for more information about cases, bags and racks.