Tips for Picking a Store & Charge Station You Won’t Outgrow
When budget time comes and you’re charged with identifying the tech needs of your faculty and staff, it’s sometimes hard to see down the road far enough to predict long-term needs. This is especially true for IT directors and technology coaches who are constantly trying to navigate changes in hardware, software, and related equipment, as these resources tend to operate on a very short lifecycle. One choice you can exercise some control over is your store and charge stations.
Whether you’re a 1:1 school, a BYOD school, a computer lab school, or a hybrid, you’ve probably had to purchase equipment capable of storing and charging the electronic devices used by faculty and students. When specifying storing and charging equipment, standard protocol is to determine the number and size of devices that need to be managed and then select a product that meets those criteria. This is a common practice that allows schools to meet a specific need and also stay within budget. Generally, there’s nothing wrong with this approach, unless you live in a district that is consistently growing, or you have “bubble” groups of students pass through your building that are uncharacteristically large compared to your average class sizes. In these cases, it pays to plan ahead, especially when making equipment purchases that you’ll want to last a long time.
Here are two things to consider when choosing a store and charge station to help ensure that it will grow with your changing needs.
- Most store and charge stations that are meant to store quantities of devices like laptops, Chromebooks, iPads, or tablets include some type of divider between devices that creates the individual slots for each device. Make sure these dividers are removable. This will allow you the freedom to adjust the internal space for different sized devices and create more or fewer slots depending on your storage needs year to year.
- If you’re considering a small quantity, fixed-location storing and charging station because you have only a few devices to store in an area, look for a station that is stackable. That way if your storage needs increase in subsequent years, you can add on with a second and third stackable station and expand your storage capacity without using more square footage in the classroom or storage area.
Neither of these features will add any additional costs to your budget. It’s simply a matter of selecting a store and charge station that can adapt and flex as your storage needs change over time. Shopping with these features in mind can also help you get more out of your budget in subsequent years, as you won’t be reinvesting in new equipment. Instead, your existing equipment will grow with you.