The Unsexy But Important Thing To Consider With iPads In The Classroom

It’s no secret. Everyone and their mother wants an iPad. Apple sells one like every other second 24 hours a day… 7 days a week. Everyone seems to want to be able to deploy an armada of iPads to harness the power of the tablet.

But the expense is more than just the initial purchase price of the iPads. In fact, you could double or even triple that cost if you don’t secure your iPads properly. Because as I just said, everyone wants an iPad. And they’re willing to steal it in order to get it.

Securing those expensive iPads should be one of the biggest things being discussed on sites like Edudemic every day. But it’s not. Lucky for us, the folks at Intellerum offered us some important insight into the world of iPad, Netbook, and other device security. Long story short, there’s a lot you probably don’t know about.

Here’s the most popular solutions they’re seeing around the world as well as the pros and cons of each.

Option #1 – Mobile Carts

According to Intellerum, this is the most popular solution by far for the past several years. The benefit is that it’s a mobile solution to charging, syncing, and storing your classroom full of iPads. Like the iPad, carts have evolved at a rapid pace. The new QwikLink line of carts was actually designed in part by school staff, teachers, students, and IT directors. If they don’t know what’s needed and going to work, I don’t know who is.

Now for a quick lesson of the lingo of mobile carts. Know what a tambour door is? How about a removable IT rear access panel? Me neither. I could guess but I’d probably be off.

Tambour doors are those flexible type of doors you typically see on the back of UHaul trucks. This allows the iPad cart to stay safe, durable, and be easy to open (if you’re the person with the key). A removable IT rear access panel is the door on the rear of the cart that allows the IT directors to access IT-y stuff needed to keep your iPads humming along but keep teachers and students from accessing the electrical components.

A quick note on mobile carts. Most are built for more than just iPads. There are laptop and netbook versions as well. Some carts can even hold your classroom projector, cables, and desktop computers.

The last tidbit we learned was that the most popular capacities (and therefore what’s offered) are carts that can handle either 16 or 32 iPads at once. When it comes to color, not all carts have to be black or boring grey. There are 19 paint colors and 13 laminate colors that let you get a cart that doesn’t actually stand out and shout ‘come steal my iPads!’

Option #2 – Depots

You’ve got nearly 30 students in a small classroom. That’s 30 desks, 30 jackets, 60 sneakers, and a whole lot of other…stuff. You don’t have space for a large storage container to house your iPads.

According to Intellerum, the latest data is showing that most teachers are opting for a small under-the-desk ‘depot’ that lets you store a handful of iPads or laptops. These depots are on wheels and let you hide them just about anywhere. I could see the best place being under the teacher’s desk in order to simply keep students focused and not quietly (or loudly) yearning to use the iPads.

To continue this crash course in iPad security, you should also know about the different kinds of depots. Some are bigger (under the desk) and some are smaller (can be placed on a counter). It’s all about what your needs are. Long story short, you need to plan on investing in securing your iPads but not worry you’ll have to get some clunky case. There’s a pantload of options and something for everyone.

Thanks!

Special thanks to Intellerum for the information that helped us actually write this post. Want to chat with them? Get in touch with Amanda Fram (I can vouch for her being awesome.)

2 Comments

  1. John Dyers

    July 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    This was very useful. We have done several deployments using carts and cabinets (NetSafes) from Datamation Systems. They have a terrific range of tools, including USB charging and syncing hubs that lat you plan out deployments using shared resources, which save money and really help control licenses and iPad configurations.

    We also found (the hard way) that you should be really careful about security. Our first carts were broken into with almost no trouble. I saw a blog that had two postings recently about this: http://tabadapt.com/?p=331 and http://tabadapt.com/?p=496

  2. David Newman

    July 19, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Option #3. Give every student an iPad

    Then they won’t need to steal one. We are giving every student a free iPad with our M.Sc. course (from the £30,000 fee).