Category Archives: iPads for Education

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How to Incorporate New Technology: Address Wi-Fi First

New standards in education that expand and incorporate more technology are leading to a new educational environment. But before schools begin purchasing Chromebooks and iPads on a large scale, it is important for school administrators and IT professionals to address one of the most important components to a school-wide technical infrastructure: the Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi networks are at the heart of working technology education devices. From allowing a Chromebook to save documents and access new materials properly to completing a cycle of syncing for your devices with a charge and sync cart, your Wi-Fi plays a significant role in ensuring quality use out of your devices. And with the Federal Communications Commission E-Rate application just starting for schools this season, Wi-Fi should be a top consideration for most public schools.

According to EdTech, 63% of schools will need to replace their Wi-Fi equipment due to their age, in order to meet the demands of increased device-use. Fortunately, federal funding is available for these schools that want to improve and upgrade their Wi-Fi networks and educational devices.

For IT decision-makers, the first step to a successful, connected classroom is to address the strength of your Wi-Fi network. Many schools forget to upgrade their Wi-Fi service, especially after purchasing new mobile devices or implementing a bring-your-own-device policy. And though E-rate applications make Wi-Fi more accessible, only a few applicants remember to account for the growth of their network when writing a budget.

When possible with your school or district’s budget, having fiber optic Internet connections will provide the fastest and most reliable service for a busy school. In addition, it allows for a stronger, safer network. For schools that are adjusting their current Wi-Fi networks, make sure that it can cover your typical bandwidth needs and not slow down during surge times, especially when classrooms rely on cloud-based applications.

Wi-Fi might also be key to IT offices when it comes to device management. For example, IT administrators will need a reliable Wi-Fi connection in order to manage tablets or Chromebooks through a sync-and-charge cart or hub. Or, if IT administrators opt for cloud management, a steady Wi-Fi connection 24/7 will ensure the best results for recovering, saving or installing new apps or data. Overall, a strong Wi-Fi service is beneficial beyond classroom instruction and education.

Modernizing the Wi-Fi connection is only one part of the puzzle, however. Outdated computers and devices can waste time with a lot of troubleshooting and increase the number of malfunctions during the school year. In addition, late-model devices will continue to save upgrades. As we’ve learned from recent announcements from Google on Chrome for old-model Macs and Twitter ending Tweetdeck for new Windows, there’s no guarantee that your devices will work with specific applications later in life. For a longer shelf life out of your technology inventory, it’s best to invest in a plan that slowly integrates late models into your existing inventory. This way, you can take advantage of new applications, stay on top of updates, and get the best longevity out of your current systems.

Our service can help you determine which technologies you should bring into the classroom and the accessories to support them. Whether you need sync and charge carts for all your devices, or a better system for storing and securing your mobile technologies, we can help you find the best solutions fit for your classroom. By having the right accessories and storage options, you can deploy new technology with ease and speed.

In addition, our products can allow you to take advantage of every feature your devices provide. Contact us today for your education technology needs.

 

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.

Review: Custom Educational Furnishings CEF LC-1-30 30 Tablet Security Charging Cart

Finding the right charging cart can be an endeavor for any tech department, especially when computers and tablets need to be transported safely, locked up securely, and serve many devices at once. Whether it’s for a hospital or a classroom, the right charging security cart should not be overlooked, especially as you expect a lot of travel and use from it. The new Custom Educational Furnishings CEF LC-1-30 30-Tablet Security Charging Cart is the answer for many challenges that a school, office, or business might face when storing a number of tablets securely.

The CEF LC-1-30 first of all is a compacted cart, with its size measuring 27″W x 30″D x 40″H. At this height, the cart can double as an instructor’s station, which allows the cart to be a multi-use piece of furniture for any space.  With the cable grommet on top, instructors can use the top of car for any device that also needs charging at the same time. With the two front and back locking doors, the devices inside can stay completely secure, without any risk of a break in.

The capacity of the cart includes 30 slots divided with PVC slot dividers, and can hold devices up to 16 inches in length, 11.5 inches tall and 1.375 inches thick. The space alloted for each slot can hold most tablets on the market (such as iPads and iPad minis), and even slim notebooks like Macbook Air and Google Chromebook. In addition, each numbered slot includes a cord keeper above it, allowing for easy cord management for every device in storage.

The back of the cart features even more easy-access cord management, with easy to use surge protected outlets, handle and cord wraps for tidying up cables, and optional AC adaptor brick storage trays for devices that use brick power supply. There is also extra storage space to allow for a mounted WAP, and other materials needed for the demanding classroom or office cart.

The cabinet’s durable construction is made with double faced Melamine laminate covering the 3/4″ and 1-1/8″ – 45-48 lb. industrial grade core. And unlike other carts, the CEF LC-1-30 provides 4 different finishes, allowing you to seamlessly integrate the cart with your current classroom or office, without it standing out against other furniture pieces. The four finishes include: grey nebula, natural oak, grey tenino, and cherry. The top and bottom of the cart is done in a black finish and with radius corners for safety and aesthetics, blending the entire look of the cart into a piece that is modern, functional, and consistent. The cart comes with four 5-inch soft balloon wheel casters that swivel and lock, while allows the cart to glide smoothly on all types of surfaces without damaging stored devices, and can stay mobile and stationary at a moment’s notice. Overall, it is a strong assembly that can withstand all types of environments, from a busy classroom with moving students, or quick and constant mobility up and down hospital floors.

Assembled by hand and made in the U.S., this cart can also be fitted with an optional 7 day programmable timer that can be programmed with different charging options, and wide spaced outlets that will allow wider plug heads to be plugged in at once and altogether. In addition, the cart comes with a 10 year warranty, a limited lifetime warranty on the surge protector, and a year warranty on the optional programmable timer. Overall, with its standard and custom options, the CEF LC-1-30 security charging cart can be a great asset to schools, hospitals, offices, libraries, and more. To order your cart today or see other security charging carts, check out our catalog or 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.

Best Of: Technology Carts for Education

When it comes to school technology storage, many educators look for flexible and mobile furniture with ample storage. Here’s our guide to some of the best carts for education, based on your needs.

For Multimedia Entertainment and Storage: The Hamilton Buhl SWB-80 Cart

The Hamilton Buhl SWB-80 is a stylish, all-in-one entertainment center and organizing cart that is perfect for classrooms and technology centers that rely on large-screen presentations or multimedia for their audiences. The cart is built to hold a large LCD TV flat-screen of up to 80 inches with a tilt of plus or minus 15 degrees for comfortable viewing, while using a universal twin mounting design for easy mounting, security, and stability. With protective cart handles and screen protector, swivel casters with locks, and durable steel construction, the cart is built for ease of mobility and strength. The cart also comes with a long power cord with a 4-outlet power strip, surge protector, and cord winder to allow for ease and organization of all plugged-in devices on the cart.

The bottom of the cart features one shelf for holding various devices or DVDs, in addition to a two-door cabinet for additional storage. The cabinet doors also lock, making it a secure cart to keep other electronic devices or sensitive materials save. Overall, this cart is a perfect solution for classrooms, libraries, multimedia labs, and more that utilize a large screen.

For Charging Diverse Models of Tablets and Chromebooks: The Buhl LTAB-30 Cart and the PowerStacker Tower

The Buhl LTAB-30 Cart can hold and charge 30 tablets, and compatible with iPads, Chromebooks, Samsung Galaxy Tabs, Blackberry Playbook, and more. The cart has many security features that protect devices from getting stolen, and comes with 4 spare keys for the locking doors to the cart’s cabinet. In addition, cables and cords within the cart are easy to organize, and the cart comes with two, 15-outlet switched power strips that are breaker protected, complete with a 20 CFM cooling fan to keep all plugged in devices cool while charging. This is the type of cart to use if you have multiple device models that need to charge together.

In contrast, the PowerStacker Tower has modular components that allow you to configure or mix-and-match at your will 10 to 40 devices. The sequential charging ability also makes charging various devices easier without exceeding 15 amps. With the snap in dividers, your devices will also stay safe from damage while in transit from place to place.

For Small Volume Charging of Small Devices: Hamilton 10 Port USB Charging Station
For when you need to charge smaller devices like cell phones, digital cameras, and a few tablets, the Hamilton 10 Port USB Charging Station is the perfect solution. It will sit comfortably on a desk or table top, and is easy to carry around where ever you need it. It supports all popular cell phone models, from Apple to HTC, Samsung to Blackberry, or Nexus and Nokia, and can charge them all together. It’s perfect for teacher lounges, or in small-size classrooms that want a smaller charging station for tablets or small devices.

For Book Mobility and Storage: Hamilton Buhl BTDS-6 Book Truck

The durable Hamilton Buhl Book Truck is a must-have for educational settings that need quick mobility and storage for books. With deep slated shelves to ensure secure ease of moving books around, and double sides shelves, you can store even the heaviest, thickest textbooks and move them around without breaking a sweat. With non-marring casters with two locks, this cart glides easily on various surfaces without making a noise or a mark.  It’s a great option for carting books around to different classrooms, in libraries, archives, and more.

No matter what you need, we have a cart that’s perfect for your school. To learn more about carts and their advantages or specs, contact us.

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.

Hamilton Buhl Carts & Charging Stations

Carts for Tablets, Devices, TV’s, AV,and Books

Hamilton Buhl’s line of carts range from the most basic to more elaborate rolling units, with many add-ons, such as pullout shelves, adjustable sides, stackable units and surge protectors.

Finding exactly what you need to store charge and transport your valuable equipment is easy with the extensive selection of carts. See the entire line of carts and charging stations by visiting Hamilton Buhl online. For a selection of Hamilton Buhl carts, click here.