If you’re a school technology professional, you are keenly aware that lost and stolen devices are an issue for school systems. Lost or stolen devices can create financial stress for school system budgets. While that’s not exactly good news for anyone who works in education—including students, teachers, and parents—there are ways we can all work together to get more control over our student devices. Here are some tips for doing just that:
#1: Keep devices in a secure place when they’re not being used.
You should keep your devices in a secure place when they’re not being used. The best way to accomplish this is to lock them away so that students cannot access them. You can lock up devices in cabinets, lockers, safes, closets, storage rooms or utility closets. In addition to these locations being ideal for storing student devices when not in use, there’s also strong accountability benefits of tracking tools like the One to One Plus software, which can quickly scan devices to see exactly who or where those devices belong.
#2: Be diligent about checking devices in and out.
Enforcing a system of checking in and out student devices is an essential part of managing inventory. The easiest way to do this is by using a device management system, which will automatically track when devices are checked in or out. This can also help protect you from liability by providing proof that students were aware of device use policies during the assignment process.
If you don’t have a system for tracking devices that are checked in and out, consider implementing one that includes an app like One to One Plus. These apps allow you to conveniently check devices in and out from your mobile device, and even record damages or issue an invoice during the process.
#3: Invoice for lost or damaged devices
To ensure that students are paying for and returning lost or damaged devices, you may want to invoice them for the cost of replacement.
To do this, you’ll need a process to keep a record of all invoices processed and paid. When creating an invoice template, be sure to include the following information:
- Student name (or student number)
- Device description (including model number)
- Invoice date
- Reason for the invoice (i.e. stolen, damages)
The delivery method for invoices is critical to the process. School systems have experienced the greatest success when delivering invoices in both a paper and email format. Additionally, invoices should be addressed to the student’s responsible party and not to the student.
#4: Develop a system for tracking devices that are in use.
One of the best ways to hold students accountable for their devices is by developing a system for tracking them. This can be accomplished using a system with a built-in assignment process. Additionally, systems that can integrate with MDM software through API connections provide another layer of tracking.
A good way to start is by setting up some rules and guidelines for acceptable device use on campus:
- Students must always carry their devices with them during class time. The device serves as the primary way to access learning materials and failure to bring the device should align with processes for not bringing a book or other required materials.
- Devices should be treated respectfully as the school district has invested in the technology, so failure to care for the device should have consequences.
- Students that frequently break devices or are caught using devices inappropriately should be flagged as day users preventing them from taking the device home.
#5: Use software to perform inventory audits at the end of the school year.
As a technology professional, an important responsibility is accountability for the technology owned by the school system. To accomplish this, you’ll need to schedule annual inventory audits. These audits should include student, staff, classroom, and other technology devices.
This can be a daunting task if the proper plan and system are not in place. An easy way to accomplish this task is to utilize a “divide and conquer” technique where multiple people are conducting audits at different schools. With the proper inventory system software, it’s easy to perform inventory audits at the end of each school year.
Use these tips to get more control over your student devices.
The first step is to develop a process for checking in and out devices. You can do this easily with a software solution that handles the check-in process for you. Proper check in and check out is critical to ensuring devices are associated with the proper user or location.
With software solutions, you can use them to perform inventory audits at the end of each school year or after an incident has occurred. This will help ensure that all your devices are accounted for and secure no matter what happens during the school year.
These five tips can help you keep your school’s student device inventory in check and make sure that school technology is used responsibly by students. They’re simple to implement, but they can make a big difference in how you manage your devices and their value as an educational resource.
5 ways to increase student device accountability 5 ways to increase student device accountability