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Student laptops in an elementary school

Best Practices for Deploying Student Devices 

Student laptops in an elementary schoolEvery year, K-12 school districts prepare and deploy thousands of student devices across every grade level. With so many assets in play, it’s imperative that your IT teams have a set strategy for distributing and managing those assets.

Join us as we take an in-depth look to see how you can optimize your device and asset deployment strategies to get Chromebooks, iPads, and other mobile devices out the door quickly and accurately.

Pre-deployment

The planning process for deploying student devices is crucial across all of your teams. After the hurried hand-outs that some districts faced when switching to 1:1 technology virtually overnight, the need for proactive planning became abundantly clear. Your IT staff will need proper systems in place to get devices in students’ hands and maintain accurate records.

The first step of this process is simple: locating and counting the assets you already have. Once you have an accurate number of devices in your fleet, you can streamline the pre-deployment process and account for every student device in your district.

IT leaders should have these fundamental deployment questions answered before a single device is assigned:

  • Is it a one-day distribution? If not, how many days are on the schedule?
  • Are students getting new devices or the same ones they owned last year? Have new enrollment numbers caused this to change?
  • Are there staggered pick-up times to help crowd control and safety concerns?
  • Where is this event located? Do you have a backup plan in case you need to reschedule?

These answers will vary depending on your K-12 district’s needs, but all of these need to be factored into your deployment plan.

Additionally, you need to consider the role of your staff in this initial planning phase:

  • How many staff will be available to hand out devices? Will this include teachers, or is it just your IT team?
  • How many IT staff members will be on hand for technical support?
  • Who is already trained to distribute devices?
  • How long will it take to train your staff to distribute devices?

When it comes to training staff, keep it simple. Send out a short video and/or clearly written instructions from someone with distribution experience to create the best foundation possible for deployment day.

Above all else, clear and decisive communication during pre-deployment sets your IT team up for success.

Device deployment

One thing elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools all have in common is the fact that they will inevitably run into unexpected issues when it comes to student device deployment. In this case, doing the prep work before the official deployment date will pay off big-time. With thorough pre-deployment training for your support team and proper tools at your disposal, you can distribute devices with relative ease.

Barcode scanners are one of the main tools that facilitate asset deployments—they enable rapid distribution by minimizing manual data entry. For districts that feature barcodes on their student IDs, the process is as simple as two scans—one scan for the ID, and one scan for the device’s asset tag.

However, if you want to be even more thorough, you can give your onsite technicians a list of student names and their assigned device numbers. This helps in cases where students forget their IDs or lose/damage their device barcode or asset tag.

Post-deployment

Now that all your devices are finally out the door, it’s time for your IT staff to ensure that everything is working in the back end.

The first step is to export all your asset data once the last student has picked up their device. If your deployment schedule happens over the course of multiple days, you should export the asset data at the end of each day so you reduce the chance of devices going missing or unassigned.

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This is also a great opportunity to go into your asset management system or school help desk and make sure device ownership is correct. By using the recent login data from your MDM platform, you can cross-reference with ownership data to check for any mismatches in device ownership.

Finally, setting up regular audits throughout the year ensures that all your devices made their way into students’ hands safely, and do not require further attention from your district’s IT support team. Finally, setting up regular audits throughout the year ensures that all your devices are in working order and do not require further attention from your district’s IT support team. Within an asset management system built for schools, students can automatically verify their assigned devices, simply by logging in. This allows your K-12 IT team to stay up to date on the condition of student assets and plan ahead for upcoming device collections.

Incident IQ districts have reported deployment times as fast as 1,000 devices per hour.

The rapid shift to accommodate remote and blended learning models demonstrated to K-12 districts the importance of nailing down a solid device deployment strategy. By following the steps outlined above, your school district can plan a reliable and repeatable deployment plan that quickly gets devices in students’ hands year after year.

At Incident IQ, we’re streamlining the device deployment process for schools all over the U.S. Through the use of our K-12 asset deployment tools, Henry county schools were able to deploy 1,000 devices per hour during their 1:1 rollout.

Want to learn more about the K-12 asset deployment tools Henry county used to streamline their device deployments? Schedule a demo with our team to see how Incident IQ could benefit your school district.

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