Jun 07 2023

[Infographic] What Do You Need to Maintain the Device Lifecycle?

Some IT leaders are learning how to manage their one-to-one device ecosystems on the fly. These services and solutions simplify the process.

The maintenance and management of a one-to-one device program can overwhelm a K–12 IT department. Schools with small tech teams, as well as those with a large number of students, can find themselves buried in the upkeep of the device lifecycle.

As districts consider device refreshes, reconfigurations and removal ahead of the new school year, they should take advantage of services for every aspect of their device ecosystem.

MORE ON EDTECH: Explore essential investments for the modern classroom.

Through outside assistance, experts share their experience and work with schools to make the device management process smoother. CDW’s White Glove services, for example, can help IT leaders with every step, from planning and procurement to removal and recycling.

Districts that don’t need hands-on assistance can benefit from the expertise of strategists on a third-party team. The first step in maintaining the device lifecycle is understanding it. Here are the components IT professionals will want to remember and the services that accompany them.

    Click here to download the infographic, then explore the phases in more detail in the text below.


    Plan for the Device Lifecycle Before Purchasing New Tech

    The planning phase is vital to a successful and sustainable one-to-one program. At this stage, it’s important for IT leaders to consider learning objectives and then choose devices that will enable students to meet them. Focusing on the objectives will prevent admins from being swayed by the newest and shiniest tech. It could also mean a departure from buying the same type of devices the school invested in for emergency remote learning.

    IT professionals should consider variations in their devices, as different students have different needs. This may mean investing in tablets for younger students and laptops for older students. It could also entail a mix of Chromebooks and Windows devices.

    Classroom Technology Sidebar


    CDW’s education strategists have access to a variety of devices with different processing power across different brands. Working with an expert can help an IT admin determine what devices will best suit students’ needs and districts’ budgets.

    Procure Tech Without Overwhelming IT Department Staff

    Purchasing a large quantity of devices means having to receive, store, organize and prepare that many devices for use. In the procurement stage, schools must consider where and how they will get hardware ready for students. There are multiple considerations IT leaders will need to make.

    Configuring Devices

    Laptops and tablets will need to be configured with school software, user profiles, internet access and more before they’re delivered to users. Whether districts are procuring a few hundred or a few thousand devices, configuring devices manually takes a lot of time.

    Instead of having IT teams stop everything else they’re doing to configure new devices, districts can work with CDW to have devices configured before they leave the warehouse. IT service experts can outfit devices with all the necessary applications, network access and other installations so the equipment is ready to use right out of the box. Districts can also have devices laser-engraved and asset-tagged at this phase of the process.

    Packaging Devices

    Reducing packaging saves time and benefits the environment. Schools can opt for less packaging filler when working with a partner to procure devices. CDW also offers trash removal services so IT staff don’t need to worry about where they’ll discard the boxes from thousands of new devices.

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      Distributing Devices

      Some schools don’t have the space to store and distribute thousands of student devices. With last-mile delivery services, configured devices are delivered straight to student users. This saves IT leaders the logistical headache of serving as the middleman, giving teams more time back to focus on other upgrades or installations.

      Manage the Device Ecosystem Thoughtfully to Increase ROI

      Once students have their laptops and tablets, K–12 IT teams must keep up with device care and maintenance. In this management phase, proper care will help extend the device lifecycle, increasing the district’s return on investment for their one-to-one program.

      Insuring Devices

      Insuring devices gives schools peace of mind about leaving the technology in students’ hands. Companies such as Worth Ave. Group can help protect laptops and tablets against damage and theft, ensuring schools won’t blow their budgets on pricey repairs or replacements at the end of each school year.

      Tracking Devices

      Another way to prevent costly end-of-year replacements is through device tracking. Absolute Software offers device tracking programs that can show an IT admin exactly where a device is being used if it’s been lost or stolen. The company also has options to remotely shut down or wipe devices that are reported stolen, preventing any possible data breaches.

      Securing Devices

      Managing the device ecosystem means managing the applications users are downloading and accessing on their devices. CDW’s experts can work with schools to find the right security tools for their organization. Companies such as ManagedMethods, for example, can detect and prevent users from accessing restricted applications on school technology. ManagedMethods is designed specifically for K–12 education environments and works across both Google and Microsoft operating systems.

      LEARN MORE: How does third-party risk impact K–12 learning environments?

      Cleaning Devices

      When devices are turned over to IT teams at the end of the school year or after graduation, staff members are tasked with cleaning them. Students may leave their tech covered in questionable substances, but even if the devices are in decent condition, individually cleaning laptops and tablets is a big ask for a small IT department. With the help of service professionals from CDW, districts can outsource the physical and digital scrubbing of devices.

      Part of securing devices is properly wiping the hard drive to set them up for new users. Districts don’t want to risk data privacy violations by improperly clearing the data from a former student’s equipment.

      Retire Old Devices to Make Room for New Purchases

      At the end of a device’s lifecycle, it must be retired. To avoid burying devices in a storage closet that can quickly become a device graveyard, take advantage of device removal services that will help K–12 IT departments decommission old laptops and tablets they no longer use.

      Wiping Devices

      When reconfiguring a device, a school may choose to leave district programs and software downloaded. But when it comes to decommissioning a device, IT teams will want to wipe it completely.

      Reselling or Recycling Devices

      When choosing a recycling partner, make sure the company that hauls the devices away is reputable. CDW works with companies such as RePower, which will pay schools for their old devices based on the condition of the hardware and the market. If school leaders don’t agree on the sum RePower offers, they can get their devices back. Recycling benefits not only the school district but also the communities where the technology is donated or resold at an affordable price.

      Physically Removing Devices

      Just as schools may have struggled to store thousands of new laptops, they likely don’t have the space to store retired tech. If districts don’t choose to recycle their devices and have them removed as part of that process, they can work with partners like CDW to have the equipment taken away, freeing up space for the incoming tech refresh.

      UP NEXT: New classroom technology reignites excitement in K–12 educators.

      Illustration by James Carey

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