Plan. Protect. Repair.
If you’re like a lot of schools, 2020 pushed you a lot closer to your 1:1 goals whether you planned to or not. Providing students with access to online education became a #1 priority as schools shifted into distance learning, putting more devices to use than ever before. Thanks to hard-working school tech teams and emergency government grants, technology is now successfully bridging the gap for millions of remote learners.
That being said, deploying new Chromebooks is only Phase One. The next challenge is maintaining and protecting your hard-won devices. This is particularly difficult with many devices being used at home, where tech staff have little to no control over how the computers are handled. To be successful, schools will need to find new ways of safeguarding and repairing their valuable investments.
Working Devices are More Important Than Ever….
For many students, a school-issued Chromebook, laptop, or tablet is their one and only bridge to an education. In this situation, broken tech is more than just frustrating, it can actually inhibit students from properly engaging in online learning. Making sure you have your Chromebook fleet running at 100% is now a must.
… But Also More Of a Challenge Than Ever.
Keeping devices in tip-top shape was hard enough before when you actually had eyes on them. Now, all bets are off. With students taking Chromebooks home for distance learning they are getting heavier use than normal and are being put in more compromising situations (*pan to a student using their Chromebook as a TV tray*).
If devices do come back to you broken, getting timely professional repairs is becoming more and more difficult. Why? Because 2020 has left the Chromebook market severely depleted. In the short term, at least, supply can’t keep up with the demand for Chromebooks or their repair parts.
What we’re left with is a lot of people who need repairs fighting over a very limited stock of components.
Another challenge in the break-fix process this year has been managing the exchange of broken devices. With health and safety regulations around COVID-19 keeping teachers and students physically apart, collecting and returning broken Chromebooks is no longer as easy as just handing units back and forth in your office.
So what does this all mean for you? It means it’s time for you to get smart and intentional about finding ways to minimize your breakage rates and streamline your repair processes.
Five Tips for Keeping Chromebook Fleets in Top Shape for Distance Learning
- “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”–Benjamin Franklin. Avoid repairs in the first place by investing in protective cases and shells for your Chromebooks. Many times, cases are even cheaper than warranties and can offer enough protection to keep your devices undamaged for years. Cases are an especially good option when Chromebooks are frequently being transported with students back and forth from home to school or from class to class.
- Make break-fix repairs easier by using centralized exchange hubs. If you can’t interact with students face to face, set up locations that you specifically designate for exchanging broken devices with working replacements. Many schools have had great success with smart lockers like the LocknCharge FUYL Tower. With smart lockers, you can pre-stock replacement Chromebooks into individually locked bays. When a student needs a device repaired, you grant them access to one of the bays where they can swap out their broken device for a working one. Tech teams just periodically visit the smart lockers to pick up broken devices and drop off repaired units.
- Don’t wait to send broken tech in for repairs. Demand is expected to be particularly high this holiday season and some parts supplies are already extremely low. Consider submitting your repairs as early as possible this year.
- Encourage students do routine maintenance/cleaning on their devices from home. For some of you those are probably the scariest words you’ve heard since Halloween, but kids can do amazing things when given the right instructions. For many students, it’s empowering to be entrusted with the care of such an important item. Our troubleshooting guide and device sanitation how-to are great places to start looking for ways to set kids off in the right direction. Even small care and maintenance tasks can help kids realize the importance of treating their devices with respect.
- Pick an awesome partner. Whatever strategies you choose for protecting and repairing your Chromebook fleet, it helps to have a partner that specializes in education tech and knows the issues you face–one that can help you find the best solutions for your unique hardware, budget, and situation. When you partner with FireFly, you get a dedicated Account Manager who’s an expert in creating winning technology plans for schools. From warranties to self-maintainer options to protective cases and shells, our goal at FireFly is to make it easy for you to keep your devices running strong. Contact a FireFly sales rep today for a no-pressure consultation about your technology and repair needs. If your devices are under warranty, you can even start having us handle your Chromebook repairs for you and it wont cost you a thing.
With a little planning, your Chromebook fleet can last you for years to come. We hope this guide has helped, and we’d also love to hear what other solutions schools are using to overcome and adapt to these important issues. Have some ideas to share? Click our social media links below and let the world know about it! Also be sure to “like” us and “subscribe” to stay in touch with all the best tips, news, and specials FireFly has to offer.