Many school IT departments were forced into a quick 1:1 scenario involving student Chromebooks after Covid hit in March 2020. Schools with Chromebooks already in use had to adopt new rules for inventory management; whereas in the past the Chromebooks might have stayed in the classrooms overnight, now they are with students in their homes as their primary tool for remote learning.
It’s not unusual for one or two technicians to have to look after thousands of devices scattered throughout the reaches of a school district. Here are some collected tips and best practices from those working in K-12 IT, and we’ll discuss the processes they have put in place to overcome the challenges they’re facing in their schools.
Look into asset management software
Software tools for tracking assets between schools, classrooms, and students come in all shapes and sizes. Technicians that have to deal with mandatory funding compliance want to use more than an Excel spreadsheet for keeping track of its fleet of Chromebooks. Many districts use barcode scanners to track any school-issued collateral from books to instruments. If you need to put in place a solution right away, there are several quality free or inexpensive asset management tools that schools are using.
AdminRemix would love to be a part of helping your school with their needs in asset management with our AssetRemix system. You can sign up without a credit card for up to 50 assets for free.
Reduce touch points in the inventory process
In large districts where upwards of 10,000 devices might be in circulation during the school year, administrators need to keep the inventory process as lean as possible. Here’s what that might look like:
- IT department scans and enrolls a pallet of Chromebooks into an asset management database.
- School librarians or technicians assigned to campuses get the tagged assets, and scan them out to students and staff. If classroom teachers will have a cart, then see last step.
- Classroom teachers assign each Chromebook and add the student’s name or ID number to the appropriate serial number in a Google Sheet.
Districts then further reduce their asset management workload by assigning one Chromebook to one student for the entire lifespan of the device. It places accountability on students to care for their device, and eliminates the annual logistical conundrums associated with returning and reissuing thousands of devices.
Schools might designate one place as a help desk — perhaps the library, or the main office in districts that are remote learning — using a ticketing system tied to the serial number of the device. Once repairs are made, the student is called to pick up the Chromebook, and staff closes the ticket.
For students that leave the district, the school office holds students accountable for the return of the Chromebook similar to how they would a textbook. Transcripts may be withheld if it is not returned.
Use location tracking and privacy tools
Most students are taking their Chromebooks offsite now. Administrators want to know where student devices are, and who is logged into them, to meet security and privacy requirements. Chromebooks do not have a GPS like a mobile phone. Admins can roughly track devices through the management console, but third party solutions are needed for any worthwhile device monitoring.