Extending the value of previous investments in technology for schools relies upon the choice of good quality products that have scaleability. But it also relies upon compatibility between your products too. This is where some schools make some costly mistakes.
“Yes, we already have iPad cases – really good child-friendly ones bought last year. This year we need an iPad cart.” Then the problem becomes clear: the iPad cases already bought and wrangled onto the devices won’t fit into any charge-sync charging station.
- Plan ahead. Consider your school’s needs for the next 2-3 years before committing to a purchase, especially one that has labour implications as well as direct costs. Look for products now that will be able to be extended by the next purchase, to add scale or sophistication to your technology fleet.
- Look wide. Quality companies from around the world are innovating in the technology space, and improving the opportunities for schools and students all the time. There will be several products that can suit your needs – you just don’t know about them yet. New products are arriving all the time, so it’s important for schools to do their homework and learn what products are out there to meet their needs now, and to provision for what is coming.
- Talk to specialists. Look beyond the all-things-for-all-people catalogue school suppliers with one or two versions of a product. Look towards specialists who really know the breadth of options in the product group you are looking for. Here you can compare styles, brands and get to know all of your options.
- Plan for change. While many schools are sticking to iPads, many others are diversifying and becoming device agnostic. For example, some schools are introducing tablets in addition to iPads, so their needs for charge-sync systems is changing. Charging stations without the sync functionality are often cheaper, so consider how you can manage your fleet with a new set of technical requirements. Can you introduce charge-only carts and cabinets, rotating Apple devices that need syncing one syncing station instead of investing more money in additional sync-charge stations? Think about how often you need to sync iPads – if it is just once a term, perhaps a portable sync-charge system can handle that job, while a device agnostic charging station may meet the day to day needs at a lower price?