May 29 2015

What’s Your End-of-Year Device Collection Strategy?

An experienced IT leader shares tips and techniques for collecting his district’s myriad devices ahead of summer vacation.

The academic year for many school districts across the country is coming to a close. That means it's collection time for districts with one-to-one device policies.

This can be stressful for IT departments without a solid footing on how to go about the laborious task of ensuring each device from every class, grade level and school has been returned properly. But using tips from more experienced districts can help make that process easier.

The Community Consolidated School District 59 in Arlington Heights, Ill. has been using Google Chromebooks for a year now, and its schools have had one-to-one device policies for several years.

Ben Grey, the assistant superintendent of innovative learning and communications for the district, told EdTech that a solid inventory system powered by easily sharable documents in Google Sheets helps keep the otherwise chaotic collection process organized. Sheets is an integral part of the Google for Education lineup, which is free for schools.

"We export all of our assets from our inventory system and compile the assets into a readable spreadsheet format in Google Sheets," says Grey. "We then create a tab for each school and list all of our Chromebooks and Nexus 7 tablets and their association to the specific students to which they have been assigned."

Custom filters help IT staff drill down to specific classrooms and teachers when it comes time to double check inventories. During this process, staff members check each device to ensure it has not been damaged.

"Once the check in has been completed, the devices are placed back in the student bags and secured in a locked, temperature-controlled room in the school building for storage over the summer. Any damaged devices are sent back to our admin building, where the needed repairs are completed," says Grey.

The IT department keeps the devices safe over the summer and ensures they're ready to be used when students return in the fall.

"With the Chromebook and Nexus 7, there is no need to touch all of the devices for reimaging or updating over the summer," Grey says. "They simply log back into the devices with their Google Apps credentials, and the devices are once again ready for use."

GoGuardian, a Chromebook management solution service, a simple visual tip: Install on each device customized desktop wallpaper that posts details for the end-of-year collection process. This can be easily done using the Google Admin console. This simple step ensures that all students are made aware they need to return their devices and where, when and how to do so.

"This technique should work without needing the device to be rebooted or for users to logout and back in either, so you can rest assured every student will see your notice about your school’s end-of-the-year Chromebook return process," according to GoGuardian.

What's your end-of-year device collection strategy?

Andriy Petrenko/Thinkstock

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