Tablets are the hottest tech trend in K-12 classrooms. When educators are trained to support these Web 2.0 classrooms, and to integrate the technology into their curriculum, they can make a difference in student innovation, creativity, autonomy, independent research, personalized learning and potentially an increase in literacy test scores. In many cases, schools adopt programs to provide tablets either for in-school-only use or for students to take home.
Tips for Protecting Tablets in Classrooms
Your school has likely taken many precautions to protect the tablets issued to students. These could include insurance policies, tablet tracking, filtered wireless content (for blocking questionable content), key logging, device-based Internet filtering software, as well as software for app management.
Here are some ways you can protect devices that are used in the classroom:
- Lock the classroom door if unoccupied (entry-proof doors are preferable)
- Lock windows
- Install burglar alarms on doors and windows of any room where devices may be kept
- Install multiple dead bolts with hardened door jams in the computer storage rooms
- Install remote security cameras outside computer storage rooms
- Install multiple pin hole or concealed cameras inside computer storage areas; thieves will try to destroy the outside cameras, but will be so hyped up they won't look for the concealed cameras. Multiple angles give better photographic evidence of all suspects while they are in the room.
- Have a safe place for keeping tablets when not in use
- Practice taking out and putting away tablets in a way that will prevent them from being damaged or dropped
- Put names on the tablet cases with a hard-to-remove label such as this one as well as "invisible" ink markers that can be seen only under blacklight
- Do not store tablets in lockers or gym change rooms
- Consider physical cable locks for in-classroom and home use
Have a talk with your students about theft prevention on a regular basis.
Rules for Taking Tablets Home
Research has shown that students learn in a variety of settings, so there is a benefit to allowing tablets to leave the classroom. If your students are allowed to take tablets home, you should go over proper device handling with students and send a hand-out on the guidelines to parents.
When speaking to students and parents, here are some points to cover:
- Tablets are fragile and should be treated with care; they should not be removed from protective cases (which are essential)
- Do not use tablets near food or beverages
- Students should respect school property, not adding stickers or modifying the devices in any way
- Use tablets in public areas of the home (tip for parents to monitor internet use, time spent on device)
- Educate regularly on topics such as responsible online behavior, particularly with it comes to social networking and cyberbullying
- Tablets should be charged before brought to class
- When carrying tablets home, make sure they are secured and not visible to the general public to deter theft or robbery
- Students should not attempt to fix their own tablets
- Discourage connecting to unsecured or unfamiliar wireless networks
- Do not leave tablets in cars
- Do not leave tablets unattended in any public location (library, cafe, etc) or out of your physical contact if kept in a backpack
- Parents should have the ability to make the rules and consequences of tablet use at home
- Minimize the storage of personal information
- Back-up school work