Brenthaven 101

An information hub for planning and deploying your digital conversion.
STAGE 1: Develop Strategy
STAGE 1: Develop Strategy
STAGE 2: Develop Strategy
STAGE 2: Develop Strategy
STAGE 3: Secure Funding
STAGE 3: Secure Funding
STAGE 4: Purchase
STAGE 4: Purchasing
STAGE 5: Deploying
STAGE 6: Refreshing & Advocating
Bringing technology into your school can feel like a daunting task as many questions arise during the early stages of planning. It is important to be informed about the opportunities and challenges you could face during your technology deployment. To help support you during this pivotal time, we have created Brenthaven 101 as an informational resource hub.
To get you started, we would like to share some useful tools that have been helpful to us, as well as other schools who have recently gone through a 1:1 conversion.
An exciting tool for the education community, Twitter provides an opportunity to share your experience and explore ideas with companies, schools and teachers. Don’t forget to follow Brenthaven Education for helpful information on protective cases for your devices.
@Brenthaven_Edu    @Project_RED
@THE_Journal    @EdTech_K12
Blogs are essential resources for learning about the process of technology deployments. It’s important to follow blogs that are well maintained and provide insightful information. EdTech offers a list of the best blogs offering real life experiences from teachers, tech directors and administrators.
We like to stay connected with schools and help answer any questions you might have about your deployment. Feel free to ask us a question, or tell us about your roll-out experience. One of our education representatives will be in touch within 24 hours.
Dr. Mark Edwards is the Superintendent of Mooresville Graded School District and author of Every Child, Every Day: A Digital Conversion Model for Student Achievement. Dr. Edwards’ book of how Mooresville was one of the first districts to successfully implement a 1:1.
Several years ago, Mooresville Graded School District (MGSD) embarked on an ambitious new learning initiative, referred to as a “digital conversion”. Their unprecedented journey has since been nationally recognized for developing comprehensive best practices in implementing a successful 1:1 initiative.
  • 4,000 11” MacBook Air laptops and Brenthaven Tred Backpacks (1:1 in grades 4-12)
  • 100th of 115 NC school districts in per-student spending
  • 300% increase in scholarships since 1:1 deployment
  • 89% overall composite on North Carolina state assessments (2nd in NC)
  • 90% cohort graduation rate (3rd in NC, up from 80% in 2008)
"The bottom line is that bringing more technology into the classroom shows tremendous promise to improve schools. And any doubters should take a look at the little school district now speeding along in Mooresville."

-Juan Williams, The New York Times

Interested in learning more? to view our webinar videos and register for future FREE webinars.

Brenthaven has been partnering with schools as they deploy digital technology for more than a decade, and in that time we can’t recall two initiatives that were identical.
There are dozens of ways to approach your conversion to the digital classroom, but in our experience the most successful initiatives utilize the following three device models.
1:1 digital conversions, in which each student is issued a device owned or leased by the school or district, come with both daunting requirements and tremendously positive implications for students and educators. If not properly planned and implemented, 1:1 initiatives can result in device abuse, poorly equipped wireless networks, or disengaged faculty. When successfully implemented, however, 1:1 programs yield higher test scores, customized learning curves, and higher graduation and college acceptance rates.
You may have heard about the difficulties faced by L.A. Unified School District in its first 1:1 deployment phase. The $30 million pilot phase issued an iPad to each student in 47 schools, with the ultimate goal of issuing an iPad to all of the district’s 600,000+ students at a total cost of $1 billion. Despite setbacks like those experienced in L.A., the idea of a phased or piloted approach can be quite effective. Beginning a deployment with select schools, grade levels, or classrooms can yield valuable learnings for subsequent large-scale deployments. Irrespective of the scale of the 1:1 deployment you’re planning, it’s critical to employ policies and procedures around how devices will be used, powered, managed and protected when issued to students.
Because of the relative infancy of 1:1 initiatives, the potential benefits of putting a device in the hands of every student are more numerous than we probably realize. What we do know is that 1:1 programs level the playing field for students of all income and learning levels. Teachers are empowered to instruct at a customized level, and students are able to use their devices at home for things as simple as homework or as impactful as applying to colleges. Brenthaven has been a proud partner in some of the most successful 1:1 initiatives to date, including Mooresville Graded School District and the State of Maine initiative. In both examples we supplied customized cases for each student, reducing device breakage and providing lasting peace of mind for educators.
Charge carts are a fantastic solution for schools who want to introduce digital technology but don't have the budget for a full 1:1 initiative. Charge carts like those supplied by Bretford, LocknCharge, and Anthro are mobile carts that store, charge and sync devices. They can be easily moved between classrooms and provide security for devices when not in use.

Because students are not typically in possession of the devices outside the classroom, damage and abuse to devices is less likely. However it’s still a good idea to use cases to protect devices during daily use. We recommend the Brenthaven BX2™ Protector for iPad 2-4, BX2™ Protector Folio for iPad Air and iPad mini, or Trek Hardshell Cover for Chromebooks and MacBooks. All provide superior drop or scratch protection and feature slim silhouettes that fit easily into charge carts. One difficulty with shared charge carts is that teachers may be challenged to develop a
routine with the time allotted to them to use the devices. 1:1 programs have the benefit of daily, ubiquitous presence of technology, so teachers and students naturally fall into patterns of use. Having to share a cart of devices across several classrooms can cause scheduling conflicts that may limit the effectiveness of the devices. Furthermore, not having the flexibility to send devices home with students limits their capacity to work on projects or assignments outside the classroom.
BYOD programs have gained popularity in recent years because of low cost implications for schools and flexibility in device selection for families. Students and their parents have the ability to choose a device that works best for their budget, or to use a device they already own. Furthermore, schools are able to defer the liability and burden of a large hardware investment and focus their technology budgets on network infrastructure and curriculum.
Despite its obvious advantages, the BYOD model is a polarizing concept amongst educators, largely because it runs a high risk of not achieving a level playing field across student bodies. In schools with diverse socioeconomic climates, it can be difficult to ensure that each student can independently afford a device. Because of this issue, BYOD initiatives are more likely to be successful in schools with higher household income levels and narrow income gaps.

Another challenge with the BYOD model is standardizing security, operating systems, policies and curriculums across a plethora of devices. Brenthaven standardizes device protection by creating special pricing and assortment options for schools that choose a BYOD initiative. Administrators can then refer parents to endorsed Brenthaven products so that every BYOD device is housed in a Brenthaven case, all of which come with a 100% Lifetime Guarantee.
Much attention is paid to the number of schools introducing technology to their classrooms, but the focus is often on the technology itself – devices, capabilities, and associated costs. The unsung hero in many digital conversions, however, is the process by which the technology is used to enhance – and ultimately transform – how students learn and teachers teach.
There are many approaches to implementing and gauging the impact of transformative learning in classrooms. Generally speaking, the goal is to increase the degree to which technology introduces new capabilities and skills to the learning process rather than being used as a replacement for old or existing learning methods. One common example of how to do this is the blended classroom, in which the best elements of traditional instruction, homework, and online classrooms are combined to create a personalized learning experience for each student. Technology enables educators in blended classrooms to create more flexibility than ever before, and to collect more data about how students learn, all while abandoning their traditional posts at the front of the classroom. At the same time, students are equipped with a new set of tools for creating their deliverables and expressing their comprehension of a subject.
While designing an instructional model is critical to a successful digital classroom initiative, it is equally imperative to gain full teacher buy-in along the way. Fully integrating technology into classrooms changes in how teachers do their jobs, and that's a lot to ask of an entire population of people! Taking the time to engage the entire faculty and confirm their buy-in and commitment to a technology initiative can create confidence that the technology will be used to its fullest potential.

During the process of obtaining teacher buy-in, some schools experience an interesting shift in their informal leadership dynamics. Teachers with a great deal of experience and seniority often find themselves learning from new teachers who are more comfortable with technology and with flexible learning environments. Similarly, many teachers are surprised that their students end up teaching them how to use new tools – likely an unsettling concept for many seasoned educators. In order to maximize success, be sure to gain commitment from teachers early in the planning phase of your initiative and invest in training and feedback processes throughout deployment.
An increasingly popular method of evaluating the success of a technology-driven instructional program is the SAMR Model, developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, in which technology's impact on learning is evaluated on a four-point scale: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. Administrators often conduct classroom audits to determine where individual teachers fall on the SAMR scale. Those who ask their students to type a poem when they would have previously hand-written it would be placed in the Substitution phase – technology has changed how the
assignment is produced but otherwise the learning experience is unaffected.

On the other end of the scale is Redefinition, in which the technology used to complete a task opens the door for students to complete a whole new task or set of tasks. Using the poem example, classrooms in the Redefinition phase might create a video poem and post it to a class site for collaborative feedback and discussion. Using simple auditsa dministrators are able to use the SAMR Model to easily gauge the depth of integration in across classrooms, subjects, and grade levels.They can then adjust issues with teachers whose use of technology is more superficial in order to ensure widespread success of their digital conversions.
Software Products
Software Products, such as DyKnow and Gaggle, are commonplace in digital conversions and provide tremendous value for teachers and students. They bolster collaboration, enable teachers to monitor engagement and activity, and remove barriers to ensure that learning continues outside the classroom.
Service-based companies like Education Elements can add simplicity and clarity to any digital conversion. They provide consulting services for schools that are planning deployments and help address the many “how-to” questions that come up along the way.
Physical Products
Physical Products play an important role in transformative learning as well. To ensure devices are safely transported from classroom to kitchen table for continued learning, Brenthaven provides protective cases for virtually all K-12 devices. For added peace of mind, all Brenthaven products are backed by a 100% Lifetime Guarantee.
At this point in the design of your digital classroom initiative, you may feel overwhelmed by the number of “to-do” items on your list. To alleviate some of the complexity around your deployment, it can be helpful to flip your perspective and focus for a moment on what not to do. This Brenthaven 101 webinar from March, 2014 walks through a series of avoidable missteps in the 1:1 deployment process. The simple but invaluable list of pitfalls and how to avoid them is courtesy of Kameron C. Ball, Ph.D, Director of Technology for Clinton Public School District in Clint, MS.
7 Pitfalls to Avoid:
  • Rushing the decision
  • Issuing devices to students and educators simultaneously
  • Forgetting that infrastructure matters
  • Not having a stable funding stream
  • Bypassing the details
  • Neglecting to build a communications plan
  • Choosing vendors rather than partners
Watch the complete webinar to learn more about how Dr. Ball and her team successfully launched a blended 1:1 and charge cart deployment, despite learning some of these lessons the hard way.
Interested in learning more? to view our webinar videos and register for future FREE webinars.
Digital Conversion Readiness Tools
One of our favorite things about working so closely with schools is that Technology Directors and their teams are amazing planners. Our K-12 partners often challenge us with questions about how to best prepare for their upcoming initiatives. Over the years, Brenthaven has become familiar with some excellent planning resources that are sure to help you as well.
Best End-to-end Readiness Tools
Project RED is a key resource for educators planning a technology deployment, and if you're reading this, chances
are you're already familiar with Project RED's work. The Project RED website includes a sample implementation timeline and readiness tool that allow project leaders to create a deployment plan and gauge progress from start to finish. You’ll need to create a Project RED account to access these tools, but it only takes a moment and is free to sign up.
Best Infrastructure Resource
Creating a sound and scalable infrastructure is critical to the success of any technology deployment. This white paper from AT&T focuses on planning a tablet deployment, but many of its core principals can be assumed for laptop deployments as well.
Best Device/Software Resources
Irrespective of the partners you choose to supply devices and software for your deployment, they're sure to have resources on hand to ensure your success. We recommend working with your supplier partners to provide best practices for deploying their products. Meanwhile, these deployment and change management plans from Apple and Google are ideal for projects using devices or operating systems from the two biggest players in the K-12 space.
Protecting your Investment
For our part, Brenthaven works diligently to create peace of mind during the conversion to the digital classroom. In doing so, we urge our customers to consider the following factors in deciding when and how to protect their sizable investments in technology.

Use Case
  • Have you established usage standards and policies for how students should use and care for devices?
  • Will students take devices home with them?
  • How will devices be stored when not in use?
  • Are different solutions required across different grade levels?
Feature Set
  • What constitutes good device protection?
  • What is the difference between various case companies in the K-12 market?
  • Which protective features are most important to your deployment?
  • What is the allotted budget per student or device?
  • What is the projected cost of not implementing device protection (breakage and repairs)?
Lead Time
  • What is the allotted budget per student or device?
  • What is the projected cost of not implementing device protection (breakage and repairs)?
  • Do you have a reliable point of contact with your case provider to guarantee smooth fulfillment?
  • How are various cases packaged and shipped?
  • How much time does it take to assemble a case with each device?
  • Where will cases (and devices) be stored?
  • How should cases be cleaned and maintained throughout the year?
  • How should cases be inventoried relative to devices?
  • How will broken or defective cases be replaced, and at what cost?
  • How often will cases need to be refreshed?
  • Does the case provider offer ongoing support to ensure a painless renewal process?
Digital Conversion Readiness Tools
Digital Conversion Readiness Tools
Selecting devices and protective cases for a technology rollout is a critical decision in the digital conversion process. There are numerous factors to consider, including budget, how devices will be used, network and software compatibility, and durability. It's important to take the time to find device
and case suppliers that can accommodate as many of your specific needs as possible to guarantee lasting success in your deployment.
The graphic at right demonstrates how just a few device providers dominated the K-12 market in 2013. Apple has been serving the education space since 1984, a fact that is evident in both its device construction and app platform. Chromebook is a much more recent entrant to the market, but its share in K-12 has climbed from 1% in 2012 to 19% in 2013 for a reason. Chromebook devices are affordable, durable, cloud-driven, and backed by Google’s expansive collection of tools and apps for the classroom. Chromebooks are produced by a number of leading hardware manufacturers, including Samsung, HP, Lenovo, and Acer. Finally, Windows devices span multiple hardware manufacturers and form factors, but all benefit from having Windows operating systems and programs like Microsoft Office, which have been prominent technology tools for decades.

Before a decision on device manufacturer is made, it helps to have an idea of how devices will be used in (and out of) the classroom. Identifying early on that students need a keyboard, for instance, will quickly eliminate tablets (or at least those without supplemental keyboard options) from the running.
Similarly, deployments that involve students taking devices home may not be ideal candidates for Chromebooks because of their need for web access, which not every student has at home. Chromebook deployments are also often accompanied by the need for significant infrastructure upgrades on campuses, the cost of which should also be considered. Awareness of how device usage shifts across grade levels is also important. Kids in grades K-4 may get the most value from using an iPad because of its touch-screen interface that is ideal for using problem solving apps. On the other hand, high-school students may need access to a full keyboard to write and submit assignments. Making the effort to fully understand how each device you’re considering will satisfy the demands of your deployment will go a long way toward making the best long-term choice.
Once you’ve chosen devices for your deployment, it is critical to see that those devices are protected from damage. Brenthaven has been a leading provider of K-12 technology cases for more than a decade, and in that time we’ve worked with many schools that didn’t anticipate needing cases until they were faced with alarmingly high breakage rates early in their deployments. Guilford County Schools in North Carolina, for example, experienced a 10% breakage rate just months into its 1:1 deployment of Amplify tablets and reported nearly 2,000 defective cases that weren’t protective enough for the K-12 classroom environment. Similarly, Mooresville Graded School District switched to Brenthaven cases from another provider after experiencing high device breakage rates and quality issues with their cases. To avoid a similar predicament, you should plan your case needs in parallel with your device needs.
Since most school deployments are for a large volume of devices and cases, it helps to order your chosen case with plenty of lead time. In general, delivery within 90 days is an industry standard.
Brenthaven recommends a budget of $25 - $50 per student, depending on the device being deployed and the protection requirements for the deployment. It may seem like a hefty sum, but the cost of deploying a great case is nearly always recovered in the form of reduced breakage rates, which result in ongoing time and cost savings for schools.
Many cases sold to education customers were built and designed with the average consumer in mind.
While products like that can be popular options for schools because of their commercial brand recognition, they’re often missing features that are important for students. Look for education-specific features when selecting a case, such as ID card windows, reflective tape for safety, case tracker systems, and a place for barcode scanning. It's also important to think about comfort and ergonomics; cases designed for children will likely have slightly different contours than those designed for adult use.
Laptop sleeves and backpacks should come with best-in-class drop protection to withstand the rigor of the K-12 environment. Brenthaven's CORE™ and HDF™ protection systems provide comprehensive drop protection across our EDU assortment of products.

iPad cases bear the task of having to provide rugged protection in a small form factor. To find the most protective iPad case, look for options that have been drop tested to meet or exceed military standards (mil-spec). This will ensure your devices can survive drops from at least four feet time after time.
All Brenthaven products are backed by a 100% Lifetime Guarantee, creating ultimate peace of mind that if something does go wrong, your cases will be replaced. Irrespective of the provider you choose, it’s important to compare the degree to which potential case suppliers stand behind their products.
Cases used in K-12 environments are likely to endure heavy treatment from students, so quality materials are important. Many providers save on cost by building their bags and cases from polyester rather than using a more durable solution like nylon. Other cost savings come from employing low quality zippers, which many customers don’t notice when evaluating cases. Be sure to ask potential case providers about materials during your selection process in order to avoid having to replace defective cases early in your technology initiative.
For a complete assortment of Brenthaven cases for K-12 technology deployments, visit our Education page or email us.
Securing funding to build a successful and lasting K-12 technology initiative can be a complicated feat. As you'll learn here, there are many resources for raising funds to deploy mobile technology into schools, but gaining access to them and piecing them together to build a sustainable technology budget is labor-intensive and complex. Brenthaven has worked with schools that have funded their technology deployments in a variety of ways. What follows is a summary of the most common sources of funding and how each might be available as you secure funding for your own initiative.
President Obama's ConnectED initiative has earned a great deal of media attention since its launch in 2013, largely because of its ambitious goal to provide 99% of all American students with access to broadband by 2017. Along with that is a $2 billion commitment from the FCC over the next two years. The money will connect more than 20 million students to broadband and wireless networks in schools. Network infrastructure is one of the more costly elements of a technology deployment, and the ConnectED initiative will provide a great deal of financial relief to schools. In tandem with ConnectED, multiple federal grants exist to help schools bring their technology goals to fruition, though typically the funds must be dedicated to specific areas of a deployment such as technology for special needs programs or technology in arts departments.
Because large scale technology implementations are still relatively new in American schools, there have been few sweeping budgetary initiatives led by state. The state of Maine paved the way for other states through their Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI), which funded more than 65,000 laptops for students and teachers in grades 7-12 as of 2010. With K-12 technology initiatives gaining momentum across the nation, other states are following in Maine's footsteps. Utah is in the process of evaluating a statewide one-to-one plan that could cost as much as $750 million in its first year and $300 million each subsequent year. Idaho is also investing in a statewide effort, beginning with a $3 million pilot across 11 Idaho schools to realize their vision for "the next-generation classroom". If successful, the pilot concept will be extended to all Idaho public schools.
Raising funds at a local government level is the most common way for schools and districts to create a technology budget. Local tax increases, new taxes, and shifts in existing budgets are common methods for schools to generate funding for technology. Raising money at a local level demonstrates how creative schools can be in realizing ambitious technology plans. It helps that technology deployments, while costly, often create savings or cost neutrality in other areas of the budget. For instance, shifting textbooks to an e-reader format can save a district millions on textbooks, creating a cost-neutral situation in the transition from books to digital devices. Similarly, the cost of paper typically goes down when technology is introduced on a mass scale.
Every cost driver within a technology deployment should have a counteracting source of fiscal savings, which can work to create
significant per-student spending efficiencies and reduce the daunting gross budget requirements of a full-scale initiative. Our favorite example of this is the 1:1 initiative at Mooresville Graded School District in NC, which has observed tremendous improvements in composite testing performance and graduation rates while maintaining per-student spending that is well below average in the state (100th of 115 NC school districts). To learn more about how your school can reallocate its existing financial resources toward a technology initiative, The Project RED Cost Savings Calculator is an excellent tool for analyzing how a 1:1 deployment can save on many of the costs incurred in a traditional classroom.
While the bulk of technology budgets usually come from a blend of public funding sources, many schools choose to complete their budgetary needs with help from private organizations. One recent Brenthaven partner paid for laptop cases through a sponsorship from a local business. The business was able to embroider its logo on each case in exchange for funding the cases. In other instances, schools lean on parents to help with a deployment. A significant example of this is in a BYOD initiative, in which parents bear the burden of supplying a device for every child. In more mild examples, parents might be asked to pay a fixed annual insurance fee to cover potential device breakage throughout the school year.

Finally, private for-profit organizations have committed to technology in education on a mass scale. In tandem with President Obama's ConnectED initiative, private-sector companies have pledged more than $1 billion in products and services for school programs. Participants include Adobe ($300 million in free software), Apple ($100 million in devices), AT&T ($100 million for connectivity), and others. All of these privately funded resources are available for schools, ensuring that even the most ambitious K-12 technology initiatives can become a reality.
Preparing to ask your school board for their commitment to a costly and time-consuming digital technology deployment can be stressful, but it's a critical step in gaining the necessary approvals to move forward. Over the years, Brenthaven has helped many schools prepare for their board meetings by providing insight around the kinds of questions that might be asked and how to best prepare for a successful outcome.
The first step in preparing for a successful school board presentation is to create an organized, comprehensive proposal. This simple step can help you field questions during the meeting and will show the board that you've done your homework. How you structure and prepare for your presentation is highly dependent on your situation, but we recommend inclusion of the following artifacts to assist in a successful proposal:
  • Demonstration of complete teacher buy-in
  • Project scope and objective
  • A contact list of individuals and companies that will be partners in your deployment
  • Cost estimates for all elements of the deployment
    (network, devices, device protection, ongoing maintenance)
  • A clear deployment timeline with ownership and accountability
  • Expected ROI and improvements to classroom performance
There are many ways to approach a transition to the digital classroom, so its important to design a strategy that works best for your project objectives, faculty, and resource constraints. The board will want to see that you've thought through the potential risks and obstacles in the proposal and have adjusted the project plan accordingly. Furthermore, planning ample time for each stage of
your deployment can lead to nice surprises along the way. For example, when schools order Brenthaven cases 90 days in advance, we're sometimes able to offer perks such as lower prices and complimentary embroidery, which is otherwise a costly addition.
Let the board experience the opportunity firsthand. You may want to share success stories from neighboring schools or statistics about how introducing technology into classrooms can improve the learning experience for students. Leveraging the experiences of peer schools who have been through the technology deployment story can go a long way to show how well prepared you are for your own deployment. Take a look at our webinars for some great examples to get you started.
Another great option is to host a small show-and-tell. Bring samples of your favorite devices and protective cases to pass around the room as you present. By injecting tangible and emotional elements into your presentation, the board will immediately be more engaged and committed to your proposal. Be sure to get training on the items you plan on sharing so you’re able to speak fluently about their features and benefits.
Don't forget about the details! They can add up. Work with your colleagues to consider all the hypothetical scenarios and questions that might come up during the meeting, and have answers to as many of them as possible. Common questions from board members include:
  • What happens if a device breaks?
  • What is the warranty on this product?
  • What is our back-up plan?
  • What is our internal policy for how devices will be stored, carried, and used by students?
Finally, don't be afraid to be the leader for change within your institution. By deploying technology in your school system, you are creating a better future for teachers and students alike. There will be bumps along the way, but there is a vast global network of educators and resources you can leverage
to help alleviate the stress and challenges of a deployment. Your school board will be impressed with the passion you have for your proposal and will be confident in your ability to disseminate that passion to other stakeholders.
Get motivated! Learn about President Obama's Champions of Change.
Summer is here! Classes have adjourned for the season and you finally have some room to breathe. However if you're planning a mobile technology deployment for next school year, your down time could be short-lived. The summer before a large-scale deployment is packed with activity for many schools. Along with finalizing purchasing decisions, you're likely to be working closely with teachers to ensure they're up to speed, organizing the logistical elements of your deployment, and doing countless tests to ensure your network and devices are working as planned. The upside of all this work is that it’s the final sprint – the tasks your team accomplishes this summer will start to have a tangible impact on the coming deployment. Brenthaven has compiled a list of fun yet productive summer activities that can help move your technology initiative forward – enjoy!
While many education trade shows and technology events take place during the school year, particularly in the spring, there are some held during the summer that are well worth attending. We especially recommend the annual International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) conference. Brenthaven attends the ISTE
conference each year to connect with our partner schools and learn about the newest trends in education technology, and we find it to be an invaluable resource for schools that are about to embark on a technology initiative. This year's conference is being held in Atlanta from June 28th to July 1st, 2014. Learn more about ISTE 2014 here.
Finalize and Track your Purchases
For the most part, the decisions about which devices to use, the software needed to support them, and the protective cases you’ll use to prevent damage have already been made. It may not hurt to check in with your supplier partners periodically throughout the summer to confirm your deliveries are on track. If you haven’t yet made your final purchases, fear not. While a 90-day lead time is the
Teacher training and Engagement
While we're not deeply involved in the curriculum side of technology deployments in schools, Brenthaven has seen first-hand the impact of effectively preparing teachers for the transformational shift that takes place when technology is introduced to the classroom. Along with taking time to make sure teachers are “power users” of the devices they’ll be using, it’s critical to see that they’re emotionally committed and mentally prepared for the impending changes in the classroom. Using the summer months to hold training sessions, sending teachers to development workshops, and continuously clarifying and refining the curriculum strategy under your new technology initiative
will go a long way toward realizing success in your effort. Resources to help with teacher engagement include Project RED, edutopia, the One-to-one Institute, and other blogs dedicated to the technology in the K-12 environment.

Assembly and deployment
When your mobile devices finally arrive, it might feel like Christmas morning. Before long, you’ll realize the physical toll involved in setting up, imaging, and deploying hundreds of devices and accessories at once. To alleviate the burden, take a few early measures. Before you order devices and cases, ask your suppliers about packaging and assembly requirements. For example, Brenthaven ships all EDU cases in large cartons with limited individual packaging and clear assembly instructions,
so each case can be deployed in a matter of seconds with minimal waste. Finding out about things like that in advance can help set your expectations. Similarly, calling all hands to help with assembly (bar coding, imaging, etc.) can make the process run smoothly. With snacks and a little music, it could even be fun!
At Brenthaven, we’re passionate about the sweeping introduction of mobile technology into classrooms in recent years. Moreover, we're passionate about protecting the devices that go into those classrooms. With more than a decade of experience partnering with schools as they deploy technology initiatives, we’re confident you’ll find that Brenthaven products are the best protective solution for your next technology deployment.
Brenthaven's differentiated position in the K-12 space begins at the design phase of our product lifecycle. Each year we have countless conversations with new and existing customers, and we're fanatical about seeking their feedback. Every feature in our K-12 assortment – from drop protection to customization to packaging and assembly – is designed with the K-12 environment in mind, so you'll find that our products are optimized for how devices will be used by educators and children in today's digital classrooms.
We take painstaking measures to ensure that the best design, materials, and construction methods are used in Brenthaven bags and cases. Our bags and sleeves employ durable nylon, ruggedized zippers and high-density foam, so they’re sure to last for years. For tablets, Brenthaven's molded cases combine the most protective materials with innovative design methods, resulting in ultra-slim silhouettes that provide unparalleled protection.
Every Brenthaven product comes with a 100% Lifetime Guarantee. There is no simpler way of communicating the degree to which we stand behind our products, and we find that a 100% Lifetime Guarantee provides peace of mind to campus technology teams by removing the burden of frequent device breakage from their busy schedules. If you do need to get in touch with us to replace a broken case, discuss a replenishment, or review options for protecting a new device, our sales and customer support teams are always available to help.
The Brenthaven education sales team takes a holistic approach to partnering with schools. We become involved with schools as early in their deployment efforts as possible, coaching them through budgeting challenges, deployment timelines, and other purchasing considerations. Through Brenthaven 101, Brenthaven EDU Webinars, and our presence at most major education technology trade shows, we're able to offer support to schools from start to finish, and we maintain
relationships with most of our K-12 customers for years, ensuring every device refresh is accompanied by protection from Brenthaven. For us, the most fulfilling aspect of working in the K-12 environment is hearing success stories from schools who have deployed technology and observed minimal device breakage, maximum engagement in the classroom, and massive improvements to student performance.
Because Brenthaven offers a product assortment dedicated to K-12 customers, the cost drivers behind our products are focused on the student rather than the average consumer. As such, we're able to offer a superior line of products at a lower cost than our competitors, many of whom sell products that are designed for retail and carry a hefty retail price tag. Brenthaven's K-12 assortment
is offered to schools at up to 60% less than competitive products, despite our certainty that our feature set, value, and 100% Lifetime Guarantee make our products superior to others you may be considering.
Ready to get started? Contact us today to learn more about how Brenthaven can help with your next mobile technology deployment.
In a 2011 report, the White House stated that education spending in the US had reached $625 billion dollars annually, $2.9 billion of which was dedicated to eLearning, or "the use of electronic technology to facilitate learning." At $0.46 per every $100 spent in education at the time of the report, eLearning represented a relatively small piece of the total budget within K-12. In the three years since, however, there has been a 14% increase in spending on K-12 education technology, which is expected to reach $3.3 billion in 2014. As the market grows, it also appears to be experiencing a series of rapid shifts in how resources are allocated. This combination of a sustained increase in technology spending with changes in the climate of the K-12 marketplace creates a series of fascinating trends for educators, vendors, and administrators.
K-12 Learning
In the traditional K-12 model, learning resources were dominated by textbooks, the market for which was owned primarily by a handful of publishers. High barriers to entry made it difficult for new firms to compete in the K-12 space. With the introduction of mobile technology to classrooms, however, there are now new categories of goods and services for schools, and it’s easier to gain entry to compete. K-12 technology has quickly emerged as a full-blown marketplace, with vendors selling everything from software and apps to network services to devices and accessories. Decision-makers in schools, from technology directors to superintendents, must learn to navigate this emerging market and the new buying power that comes along with the influx of goods and services promising to revolutionize the learning process.
Taking time in advance of a deployment to scout potential vendors, develop your criteria and requirements, and identify your resource constrain's can be a substantial help in choosing products and services that are the best fit for your deployment.
Even when you have a supplier in mind that seems to meet every item on your checklist, it's important to scan the competition, attend demos, and ask for quotes from other vendors. While you might not be persuaded to change your mind, the exercise may bring up questions and challenges that you'll want your supplier of choice to address.
While the latest app or software program may seem to be a great add for your curriculum, you should take steps to evaluate its longevity. Technology enhancements move at a lightning pace, so make sure the products you choose (devices, cases, etc.) have a fantastic guarantee and the services (software, apps, etc.) have lasting potential in your classrooms.
Part of the reason K-12 technology product and service providers are operating in such a tightly competitive space is that educators have become quite savvy at stretching each dollar in their budgets. Decision-makers in schools are well aware that a dollar spent on technology is a dollar coming from somewhere else in the budget. In some cases, technology funds can be freed up by savings created in the process. For instance, switching from textbooks to an e-reading format can be cost neutral in many cases. Similarly, investing in resources to host curriculums online and in the cloud can save on printing and paper costs. In many other instances, however, educators must make sacrifices in order to bring a technology initiative to fruition. If a 1:1 iPad initiative achieves greater teacher efficiencies, the result could be increasing headcount in those classrooms in order to counter the cost of the deployment. Educators in the technology age will have to quickly learn to make the smartest sacrifices, develop sustainable technology programs, and recognize obsolescence created by technology in their classrooms in order to ensure their budgets are effectively managed.
Unlike a for-profit business, ROI in a K-12 technology program is likely not measured in monetary terms. Rather, it's likely your goals will be framed in terms of improved test scores, teacher and student engagements, and college acceptance rates. Still, having these goals is a critical part of measuring the success of a technology program, and many of the best content vendors are likely to share accountability in meeting those goals.
As you build your technology budget, be sure to identify which costs will be incremental and which will come from savings in other areas. This process will bring to light redundancies in current spending created by technology improvements.
Along with bucketing expenditures as mentioned above, you should identify which of your costs will be recurring. Some of your budget may be dedicated to one-time costs (software setup fees, building a network infrastructure, etc.), while others are recurring, either regularly or at long intervals. Be sure to have a strong understanding about the recurrence of your major cost buckets so that you can keep your technology program on the cutting edge for years to come.
As technology in classrooms becomes more ubiquitous and the market more competitive, prices have slowly begun to drop. In the past, products produced for consumer use with steep price tags have been used in K-12 technology deployments due largely to an absence of anything made specifically for classroom use. That has since changed. In the device category, Google’s Chromebooks have been a disruptive force in the last two years, offering durable, easy-to-use laptops with an impressive content library at a fraction of the cost of commercially priced devices. From a connectivity standpoint, President Obama’s ConnectED initiative is shedding both light and funding on the opportunity to extend high-speed internet connectivity to schools across the nation. More than ever before, schools with limited access to efficient networks have the resources they need to build technology infrastructures, which is an important milestone in the process of launching large-scale technology deployments. All of this spells good news for students, who will reap the benefits of improved access to technology at a lower cost.
Summer is winding down, and if your school is planning a big technology deployment this school year, your workload is likely ramping up. The days leading up to a major technology initiative can be hectic, as can the first weeks and months of the initiative itself. By this time it’s likely your team has completed months of planning, training, testing and communicating with stakeholders from parents and students to teachers and administrators. When the time arrives to finally hand out devices, backpacks and other accessories to students, the initial excitement might be followed by a quiet and unsettling "wait and see" period. What follows are suggestions for how to make the most of the initial weeks of a technology rollout so that the months and years that follow are a picture of success.
Establish and Reinforce Policy
We cannot over-emphasize the importance of establishing clear guidelines for how technology should be used, handled, and stored in a K-12 setting. Strong, comprehensive policies can save money for schools and improve the effectiveness of their technology programs. While much of the communication around policy will occur before school starts via communication with parents and teacher training, it is critical to reinforce policy after devices are issued as well. The immediate implications of this may be a temporary spike in disciplinary action, but such occurrences should decline rapidly as word spreads about the importance of following the rules.
Brenthaven's school partners routinely experience significant reductions in device breakage when clear guidelines are set and enforced around how to store and carry devices in our cases. Conversely, schools that don’t establish strong policies can experience catastrophic rifts early in their deployments. In the case of LA Unified School District, a 1:1 iPad pilot was terminated early into implementation because of student hacking and other violations of device usage policy.
Examples of areas you should consider establishing clear policy guidelines inclide:
Seek Feedback
In the first 90 days of a device rollout, it’s a good idea to seek feedback about your initiative from students, parents and teachers. Online surveys, staff meetings, and parent visits are all a good way to collect feedback. However you choose to do it, be sure to come prepared. Have a list of specific topics to focus on, and design questions pertaining to each. If it’s an in-person feedback session, you might also want to leave room for a free-flowing discussion at the end in order to hear organic feedback from stakeholders.
Several months ago, Brenthaven 101 posted a piece about the transformational shift that can take place when technology is introduced to classrooms. At a surface level, technology can simply augment how students learn by providing tools and programs that help them produce work more easily. The core goal of transformative learning, however, is that technology in classrooms will open new doors for new kinds of work that can be done and new ways for students to learn. The ability for a technology program to achieve that goal depends heavily on variations in subject matter, grade level, and teaching style. To combat inconsistencies in the degree to which new technology is utilized in the classroom, technology leaders should spend time early in deployments observing and evaluating how effectively teachers are using the technology.
Adjust early and often
Depending on what you hear from your stakeholder feedback and what you observe in classrooms, you may quickly identify areas where adjustments should be made. It might be a bit of an emotional blow to see that everything isn’t going exactly to plan, but it’s better to tweak things that aren’t working early in the process than to wait and see them have a negative impact on your technology program. Adjustments might include heightened or relaxed standards for how teachers are using devices and software, based on how effective they’re found to be during early classroom observations. Or they could be more minor, such as a requirement for students to always carry their charging cable to avoid being stuck without power during class. Either way, keenly observing things that aren’t working as planned and taking steps to improve them is a great way to develop a strong technology program.
As natural as it is for parents to hearken back to their own school days when relating to what their children are experiencing in the classroom, the transformational addition of technology to a classroom setting can make it difficult to draw comparisons. When students begin bringing tablets and laptops home from school in lieu of textbooks and binders, it can be a jarring adjustment for parents, particularly those who are not regular users of mobile technology. In order to maintain the level playing field created by putting a device in the hands of every student, it’s important to engage parents early and regularly to ensure they maximize their kids’ learning experiences at home.
Establish and Reinforce Policy
The first step in involving parents in a school technology initiative is to communicate with them. This step should begin early in the process, such as when schools are working to secure funding and gain board approval. Easy and effective ways to communicate plans for technology efforts include memos, newsletters, blogs, in-house parent events, and social media. Some school districts have even created positions for a Social Media Coordinator to keep school stakeholders apprised of goings-on in the district. While not every element of a deployment needs to be shared with parents, it is important to keep them informed in a few key areas:
Deployment milestones – Parents should be aware of key dates and events in a technology initiative, such as when students will receive devices, when their classrooms will be evaluated for performance, or changes to policy throughout the year.
Shifts in educational standards or expectations – Parents should be heavily informed about how technology in classrooms will result in changes to curriculum, classroom practices, homework deliverables, and ultimately expectations of student performance.
Opportunities to get involved in a deployment – If schools rely on parent volunteers to make a deployment a success, it’s important to get them involved with plenty of notice. Parents can help with everything from preparing devices for deployment (asset labeling, assembling devices and cases, etc.) to teaching other parents how to use the new technology.
Once parents are made aware of how the learning process will change for their children with the introduction of technology, they should be given at least a basic education on how to ensure the technology is used effectively in their homes. To accommodate the various schedules of busy schedules, it’s best to use a variety of resources to educate parents about new classroom technology. To begin with, small hosted sessions during parent events at schools, or a booth dedicated to sharing information about a deployment, can be good ways to connect with parents in person. Remotely, webinars are a fantastic resource for information sharing. Parents can attend live or watch a recording at a time that works for them. Finally, school websites would benefit from “parent resources” pages that are home to guides, manuals, and best practices for mobile devices. Resource pages are also great venues for ongoing training and information about a deployment.
We’ve discussed at length the best ways to reach and engage parents during a K-12 technology deployment. Once you have their attention, however, it’s important to maximize the impact of your message.
Using and protecting devices – Clear guidelines should be given to parents about basic use and protection of devices. For instance, a school may ask students to charge their devices nightly, something that parents can help enforce. Similarly, any policies in place on campus surrounding the protection and treatment of devices should be reinforced in the home. Devices should be kept in their protective Brenthaven cases when not in use, and students should avoid eating and drinking while using the devices to avoid spills.
Maximize potential for at-home learning – The more educators can share with parents regarding techniques for maximizing the benefits of technology, the better. Parents should become familiar with the key apps, programs, and forums their students use to learn, study, and produce deliverables. While the learning curves of the students are likely to be much steeper than those of their parents, it’s still important that parents know the basics so they can participate in home learning as much as possible. One hurdle to successful utilization of mobile devices in the home is lack of universal internet access. It can be difficult for schools to mandate that all families maintain internet capabilities, but Brenthaven has observed some districts that offer subsidies to help low-income families get internet access at a low cost.
Creating "screen time" balance – There are wide-spread concerns circulating about what the appropriate amount of "screen time" is for a developing child. Kids are spending more time with technology than ever before, and at younger ages. So when they come home from school after having spent much of the day learning with the help of mobile devices, it could be excessive to expect them to sit down and power up their devices again. Helping parents create a standard for at-home screen time, especially as it pertains to school-related activities, is an important measure to take. Teachers should resist the urge to make all homework technology-driven. Reading assignments, art projects, or discussions that don’t involve the device are all good ways to create balance.
In nearly a decade with South Berwyn School District 100 in Berwyn, IL, Shannon Soger has worked with virtually every element of 1:1 deployments. Beginning with a 1:1 classroom pilot in 2010, Shannon has been instrumental in successfully increasing the saturation of 1:1 classrooms in the district. In this webinar, Shannon discusses a topic that is front and center in her current role as an instructional coach: above the line learning. Shannon’s approach focuses on using technology and strategic instruction to move through the SAMR model and achieve transformational learning in 1:1 classrooms.
Interested in learning more?
Visit the Brenthaven EDU Webinar Archives to view our webinar videos and register for future FREE webinars.
Test scores have long been a controversial method for gauging the performance of students and educators. While that continues to be true, the introduction of the Common Core State Standards have introduced a national standard that aligns across the K-12 environment and prepares students for higher education in a more unified way than ever before. Furthermore, the presence of the Common Core Standards makes it easier to evaluate the degree to which schools with significant technology education programs out-perform those without. There are obviously variables to consider other than the presence of technology when comparing test scores, but having the Common Core in place is a good start.
Most schools with 1:1 and other technology programs don’t rely solely on test scores to measure the success of their initiatives. Many of our partner schools track things like college acceptance rate and scholarship dollars awarded. They measure the change in such metrics in the years during and following a major implementation. In general, rapid shifts that align with a technology deployment can be attributed, at least in part, to the technology improving student learning. The clearest example we’ve seen of this shift is within Mooresville Grade School District, where a 300% increase in scholarship awards was observed, in addition to an increase in the cohort graduation rate from 80% to 90%.
Schools and districts have also heavily adopted some kind of teacher evaluation system to internally track technology adoption across their classrooms. These evaluations track teacher engagement and student immersion, as well as the level of adoption as measured by the SAMR model or some kind of equivalent. South Berwyn School District 100 in Illinois uses the SAMR model to achieve “above the line learning”, in which classrooms strive to reach Modification and Redefinition following the introduction of technology. Classroom evaluations unveil the progress of individual classrooms in meeting such milestones and give administrators an idea of how to quickly correct course.
While quantitative methods are preferred for tracking whether the introduction of technology to classrooms improves the learning environment and student productivity, qualitative, often immeasurable methods are important to pay attention to as well. Many schools collect feedback from teachers, parents and students throughout technology deployments to get a feel for their satisfaction, engagement, and support for the effort. Such feedback is a great way to identify common concerns or pain points. Addressing those concerns early helps stakeholders feel like valuable contributors to the overall effort and become more likely to support the vision behind the program. In addition, there are benefits of introducing technology that simply cannot be measured in full. Giving equal access to technology across socio-economic levels in a school, for instance, can create a level playing field for students that might have been previously impossible to achieve.
Documentation in its Infancy
Consider MLTI, the first state-wide 1:1 initiative. It officially launched in 2001 and was fully operational in K-12 by 2006. That single data point, while powerful, provides just over a decade of information on what is a decidedly complex question: what are the long-term impacts of 1:1 initiatives on student learning and productivity? Until 1:1 programs are ubiquitous on a national level and their first generation of students move on to higher education and the workplace, it may be difficult to fully understand the benefits and sacrifices of immersive technology in classrooms. Furthermore, many technology programs have been forced to rely on trial and error during their deployments, simply because there has been little precedent to follow. As more technology is introduced, best practices, methodologies, and standards are sure to follow. With that, we can expect a more scientific approach to measuring the success of technology deployments.
2015 Trade Shows
During the early months of each calendar year, educators, administrators, and technologists flock to conferences and tradeshows throughout the country to discover the latest and greatest in K-12 education technology. Tradeshows are a key resource for educators who are in the process of implementing technology initiatives in their schools. Whether you attend one tradeshow or five in 2015, we recommend you immerse yourself in as much content and learning as possible to keep your school on the cutting edge of the K-12 technology revolution. What follows is a list of our favorite technology trade shows. Brenthaven attends these, and at least a dozen others, on an annual basis. We hope to see you at one of our booths!
Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC)
FETC has been a pivotal education technology conference for 24 years. FETC 2015 will include sessions on educational policy and leadership, emerging technologies, and instructional design. In addition, FETC hosts a vast array of vendors in the K-12 education technology space.
Learn about FETC 2015 »
Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA)
TCEA will take place February 2-6, 2015 in Austin. Schools throughout Texas have been making breakthrough advances in their implementation of technology in classrooms, and TCEA is a fantastic opportunity to network and learn. While you’re there, be sure to visit the exhibitor floor, which will showcase more than 400 products and services.
Learn about TCEA 2015 »
American Association of School Administrators National Conference on Education (AASA/NCE)
Taking place in San Diego, CA from February 26-28, 2015, NCE is geared toward superintendents as “the voice for all children in their communities”. This year’s conference will be a special milestone, as it marks the 150-year anniversary of AASA.
Learn more about NCE 2015 »
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
ISTE is the mother ship of education technology trade shows. Taking place in Philadelphia from June 28 – July 1, 2015, ISTE 2015 is not to be missed. In addition to an impressive expo hall with more than 500 exhibitors, attendees will have access to several keynote addresses from leaders in technology education, as well as a flexible schedule for attending any number of learning and networking sessions.
Learn more about ISTE 2015 »
The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and CETL
CoSN is a professional association for district technology leaders. CoSN has been in existed for more than two decades and now represents over 10 million students nationally. From March 16 – 19, 2015, CoSN will host its annual conference in Atlanta, GA. The theme of the conference will be “Enabling your Digital Leap”. In addition to the conference, CoSN is home to the Certified Education Technology Leader certification, a program that certifies K-12 technology professionals based on three pillars of knowledge: Leadership and Vision, Understanding the Educational Environment, and Managing Technology and Support Resources.
Learn more about CoSN 2015 and the CETL Certification
Close to Home
While all of these conferences are relevant and valuable, we understand that it isn’t always practical to travel to national conferences each year. There are, however, an abundance of local and regional conferences, tradeshows, and resources that are invaluable to educators who are implementing technology in their classrooms. We urge you to attend and participate in conferences in your area in 2015.
Find local and regional ISTE affiliates »
2015 K-12 Collection
Brenthaven is proud to introduce its 2015 K-12 collection, inspired by the most recent trends in technology, and by the groundbreaking digital conversions taking place in schools across the US.
Brenthaven’s 2015 K-12 Collection includes an array of products that offer best-in-class protection for nearly every device on the market. With an assortment of backpacks, sleeves, hardshell cases and iPad cases to choose from, Brenthaven is sure to have the perfect solution for your technology deployment.
Throughout the year, our Education team spends countless hours with school technology teams, device manufacturers, and students. The 2015 K-12 assortment is packed with features that cater directly to the needs of students and educators and solve many of the pain points they experience. Every year Brenthaven sets the industry standard for device protection, carrying experience, and durability, and 2015 is no exception.
  • The Tred™ Always-on Sleeve uses Grip-Tech suction technology to firmly hold the device in place, generating superior device protection on the go AND when in use.
  • The Edge Case for iPad Air, iPad Air 2, and iPad Mini features a contoured design with crumple zone corners and a sliding latch closure that absorb and deflect impact, protecting the iPad from drops up to eight feet.
  • The Tred Sleeve Plus offers students a comfortable, low-impact way to carry their devices. Its Secure-Grip™ handle is a perfect fit for small hands and minimizes the risk of dropping the device during transport.
The Brenthaven 2015 K-12 Collection is designed to ensure a cost-effective solution for nearly every budget. Furthermore, every Brenthaven product is backed by a 100% Lifetime Guarantee, so your investment is protected for the life of the product.

For schools with limited budgets for bags and cases, our Fundhaven program allows schools to share the cost of each Brenthaven product with parents with a convenient, customized webpage. If they choose, schools can even use Fundhaven to raise money!
While device protection, user experience and durability are key priorities for educators, we’re cognizant of the fact that kids want to look cool! The 2015 K-12 collection includes fun, customizable options for schools:
  • Embroidery/Embossing: Brenthaven can personalize every item in the K-12 collection with your custom school logo. If you prefer, we can use one of our pre-designed embroidery templates to print your school name in a variety of colors.
  • Color: While black is the preferred color for most school-issued bags and cases, we offer custom color options on a special order basis.
  • Kid-Friendly Customization: The Tred™ Backpack features an innovative accent strap system on its front panel that allows schools and students to add a unique pop of color. With 10 colors to choose from, students can easily individualize their backpacks.
  • Maximized iPad Functionality: The Edge Case for iPad Air, iPad Air 2, and iPad Mini offers a number of ways to use the iPad. With an interchangeable cover, schools can choose the level of protection that best fits how the device will be used and transported.

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