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.
BUILD A BUDGET
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.
DEFINE YOUR CRITERIA–WHAT MATTERS MOST TO YOU?
BUILT FOR K-12:
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.
HIGH QUALITY MATERIALS:
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.