VESD’s 21st Century skills training for media and technology, resulted in a need to incorporate laptops and fully become a 1:1 learning environment. As a result, more than 9,000 Chromebooks were purchased across the district, with an average of 29 devices per classroom.
Located in Victorville, CA, the Victor Elementary School District (VESD) includes 17 schools that serve more than 12,000 students in grades K-6. VESD is committed to inspiring purposeful learners who create their futures with confidence, curiousity, innovation and integrity through engaging learning experiences in a safe environment and within a supportive culture.
As part of immersing in Common Core State Standards, VESD is also preparing its students for the future with 21st Century skill training, which includes: life and career skills; learning and innovation skills; and media and technology skills.
Pertaining to VESD’s 21st Century skills for media and technology, there was a need to incorporate laptops and fully become a 1:1 learning environment. As a result, more than 9,000 Chromebooks were purchased across the district, with an average of 29 devices per classroom.
“A fundamental initiative was to make the computer be as standard as the pencil – in other words, something that was always available to every student on their desk as part of their everyday classroom experience,” said Bill Klopping, director of technology for VESD. “As a ‘Google Apps for Education’ district, the Chromebooks were an ideal fit. They didn’t require a lot of maintenance and had the management suite that we needed.”
Klopping noted that the immediate next challenge became the care of the devices. “With 9,000 new Chromebooks coming into our schools on top of the 3,000 devices we already had, managing the condition and safety of these computers became a primary concern. We needed a way to evenly and effectively charge them when they weren’t in use. And since the intent was to keep them in the schools at all times, we needed a way to safely and securely store them in the evenings, on the weekends and over district-wide breaks.” He added that there was also an emphasis on keeping the Chromebooks in top condition so the students were motivated to use them.
Klopping and his team began the search for a cart design that could support their maximum of 36 Chromebooks per classroom. They considered the pros and cons of all the equipment options and looked to a team at the Google headquarters for a recommendation.
Ultimately, VESD selected the Bretford carts for the district. “We were down to three different cart companies but were on a tight timeline and needed to make a decision quickly. The Bretford folks were 100 percent willing to work with us to slightly modify the carts to fit our needs, meet our timeline, and support the deployment of the carts into the classrooms. At the end of the day, Bretford was an easy decision for us,” he said.
The Bretford charging carts were optimized for Chromebooks, yet versatile enough to also support most tablets, laptops/hybrids and ultrabooks used in K-12 education environments.
“The carts were designed to effectively accommodate the vast majority of Chromebooks as well as many other mobile devices,” said Jim Fisher, product manager for Bretford Manufacturing, Inc.. “It is a great fit for VESD because it can take care of all the new devices coming into the district as well as the existing devices already in use. None of the other carts considered for this project could do both.”
Bretford carts use polypropylene dividers that protect the devices from being scratched when placing them in or taking them out of the cart. At the same time, the cart’s digital timer provides an efficient method of charging 36 devices – it rotates among three power strips while operating on a single 15-amp wall circuit. And with cable management hooks in the front and power adapter bins in the back, the cart offers a simplistic way to keep device components neat and organized. The Bretford cart also conforms to North American safety standards for Information Technology Equipment: UL 60950 (US) and CSA C22.2 No. 60950 (Canada).
The next challenge was the swift deployment of the Chromebooks and 310 carts throughout the district. “With national testing challenges on the horizon, we needed to get the Chromebooks and carts ready to go in a matter of two-and-a-half months so the students had exposure to them before standardized assessments began,” explained Klopping. “We had 10 people working to prepare the carts for the Chromebooks, which were also being set up at the same time. Everyone was in a 1,600 square foot room with only 1,000 square feet of space for assembly. We were able to deploy the devices and carts 25 percent at a time -- essentially, as one group was implemented, another was being assembled.”
According to Klopping, the Bretford team’s willingness to listen to the district’s needs and adjust to meet them on time and on budget was a primary reason the technology project was so successful.
Since implementation, Klopping reported, “The Chromebooks have transformed our classrooms. They have truly become the new pencil. They are ready for use when we need them and our staff and students have easily adapted to using them."
There is currently one Bretford cart in every second through sixth grade classroom that stores between nine and 36 laptops. Each cart is secured to the wall and locked at the end of the school day to protect the district’s investment. “The devices are safely stored when not in use and charged and ready for our students each morning,” said Klopping.
VESD is working on adding a set of Chomebooks and Bretford carts into the first grade classrooms and has been purchasing the products to prepare for the next technology round. “Bretford worked diligently with us throughout this project so that we could be successful in every way. We look forward to continuing to work with Bretford for future endeavors as our school district grows.”
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