How many months did you spend planning your last device collection? How many teachers did you have to train, and asset labels did you have to re-apply?
Deploying student devices and school assets is hard enough as it is, and before you know it, it’s the end of the school year and all those assets need to be collected once again. We’ve already discussed the best practices for deploying student devices. Now, we want to share some tips to make your next asset collection a breeze.
Establish Baseline Collection Plans
Your asset collection plans should be useful to both your department and to K-12 teachers, students, and staff. While it makes sense to have a document your team can reference internally, having a publicly available collection plan ensures that everyone involved in the collection process is on the same page.
A basic asset collection plan should include:
Where devices will be collected
Prepare the location(s) of your asset and device collection several months in advance. Collections most often take place in a single location (e.g. the school gym). However, you can choose to spread your asset collection throughout multiple classrooms or between school facilities.
Setting up multiple locations for asset collections can make it easier to categorize student devices as they’re being returned. For example, collection locations can be separated by grade level or asset type.
You can also use school asset management software to filter and categorize district assets as they’re being collected. Wherever you decide collections are taking place, students, teachers, and parents should all be made aware ahead of time.
Times that students/parents are required to drop devices off
Setting up a collection schedule with assigned dropoff times is crucial. The last thing you want is for all your assets to be dropped off at the very last minute (or even worse, all at once).
The good thing is that scheduling assigned times is actually pretty easy, so long as you stagger them appropriately throughout the day. Collection times can be staggered by grade level or student’s last name (e.g. A-E). It’s also helpful to schedule a separate collection time on another day in case of emergencies—because when you work in schools, anything is bound to happen.
Like your asset locations, asset and device collection times should be sent out in advance to ensure everyone arrives and delivers their devices when scheduled.
Drop-off traffic flow (one way in, one way out)
There’s no such thing as being too careful when setting up your room for device collection. The best way to set things up and direct traffic is to imagine an assembly line: one way in, one way out, and a repeatable process to avoid any mistakes. Try placing clear labels on the entrance and exit doors, and assign one faculty member to conduct traffic (kind of like airport security).
Who will work collection tables or booths?
When you work in schools, job descriptions can be a bit blurry. Assign collection responsibilities among your K-12 faculty to ensure that all your collection tables are staffed and ready to go. For teachers, this means helping out with end-of-year device and asset collections.
Note: Keep in mind that your district’s teachers are volunteering their time to help. Even if device collections are a collective effort, you can accommodate volunteers by asking them to select their time slot or mark down their availability. This way, your teachers have control over their schedule and your collection still runs smoothly.
Who is leading your asset collection effort?
Before you start handing out responsibilities and device drop-off times, decide who you want to be in charge of your collection initiative. Ideally, this candidate will be a member of your IT department who has prior experience with asset management.
This person will also be the main point of contact for any collection inquiries by parents, students, or faculty members. With one person in charge, you can avoid spreading conflicting information or causing confusion before the day of your device collection.
Develop Specific Collection Procedures
Once you’ve planned out the when, where, and who of your asset collection, it’s time to figure out “what” exactly is going to take place on the day. Here’s what you should include in your device collection plan:
This is where you’ll outline the bulk of your faculty’s collection responsibilities. In your collection procedures, be sure to account for:
- Visual inspections: Has the laptop or device suffered any physical or cosmetic damage?
- What devices should be collected: Are you only accepting student laptops, or are you collecting other district-loaned assets as well?
- What paperwork is involved: Do students need to turn in their acceptable use policies for assigned laptops? Do device owners need to write down the date they returned their device for your records?
- How are asset records being stored: Once you’ve collected a device, is its inventory status being recorded in a spreadsheet or a purpose-built asset management system?
Workflows for reporting damage
If all goes well, most of your district assets should return unharmed; however, building a workflow for reporting damage to district assets and devices can help you prepare for the worst.
For example, if an asset is returned with minor damage, you can label that information within school asset management software, categorize the device as “needs repairs”, and then apply a fee to the assigned student’s account. Setting up these repair workflows ensures that you’ll have enough working devices for the following school year without having to invest in additional technologies or expensive school assets.
Workflows for device storage
Once you’ve collected your district devices, you can’t just throw them up on a shelf and call it a day. Maintaining accurate device counts is a crucial next step after your collection has ended.
Keep in mind that spreadsheets aren’t a great tool for managing asset inventories as they were never designed for data storage. To maintain an accurate inventory, consider an all-in-one asset management and inventory solution. This way, once your assets have been collected, they’re automatically categorized by device status, type, location, and filed away for future reference.
Utilize a Broad Communications Plan
You might be convinced that sending out a single reminder email to students and parents is enough to keep everyone in the loop. Think again.
To ensure no one misses out on their one opportunity to return their assigned district devices, you’ll need a full communications plan in place—especially if you’re a larger school district.
A full comms plan includes emails, automated phone calls or text messages, flyers sent home in student folders, a notice on the school’s parent portal, posters on school doors/windows, etc. The earlier and more frequently you communicate your upcoming collection event, the less time you’ll need to spend following up with students and parents who “forgot”.
Your communications should also extend to K-12 teachers and faculty who are assisting in your upcoming collection initiative. Send prompt reminders about the time and location they’re needed, as well as what their responsibilities will be.
Set Aside and Test All Collection Equipment
Asset collections are much more complicated than putting them to one side and issuing a headcount—you’ll need barcode scanners, laptops, chargers, extension cords, and a slew of pens, paper, and storage containers to fully prepare for the event.
Like all technology, you’ll want to test your collection equipment before the big day to ensure it’s in working order. If you’re also using asset management software to store your asset collection data, make sure that your K-12 volunteers have sufficient training or experience so they don’t run into any problems. While you’re testing your collection equipment, you can also record a quick asset collections training video to send out to your volunteers.
With everything tested and double checked, you should have no major problems on the day of your collection.
Finalize Device Collection & Inventory
Now that your collection is finally over, you can focus on the “behind the scenes” tasks that K-12 IT departments do best.
Using school asset management software, all your collected district assets can be categorized and filtered for easy access. Your school IT team should follow-up on missing devices and determine how returned devices are going to be reassigned the following school year. In many cases, school districts will assign the same device to a student each year to promote good device stewardship and protect their investment in school technology.
Once these tasks are complete, you can conduct an end-of-year device audit to see if any of your district assets are still missing or in need of repair. The results of this final audit provide useful insight when ordering new technology and forecasting your asset budget for the next year.
As your collection tasks add up, you might decide it’s time to invest in some tools to ease the workload.
At Incident IQ, we provide K-12 school districts with fully integrated help desk and asset management tools to make device collections a breeze. Within our platform, you can store, manage, and track valuable school asset inventory data, so your device collections prove successful each and every year,
Want to learn more? Schedule a demo with our team to see how we’re helping K-12 districts streamline their workflows across departments.