Student Device Rotation

On Episode 105 of the K12 Tech Talk podcast, Chris, Josh, and Eric discussed student device rotation plans. This article is a recap of that conversation!

Chris – As far as student devices go, what is your rotation plan? Every three years? Four years? Do you lease? Do you buy?

I’ll go first. We are typically on a three year rotation plan for our student Chromebooks. We do Chromebooks, 1:1, K-12. And every three years we typically lease them. We’re sending them back to the leasing company and refreshing every three years. Sometimes, at our elementaries, depending upon the year and kind of how it’s hitting with other buildings, we might buy to try to get four years out of them. 

In recent years at the high school level, I’ve been buying 3 year warranties as well. We typically use Lenovo Chromebooks and we’re a Lenovo self maintainer, which means that we can fix our own Chromebooks that are under warranty. Therefore, it makes sense for us to buy the warranty because Lenovo pays us and lets us work on them under warranty.

Josh – We historically have bought buildings at a time and tried to do them every three or four years, specifically the buildings that send devices home. This year, we’re starting to buy a lump every year instead of every three or four years. So, what we’re going to try to start doing is, going forward, we’re going to say okay, every year, we are buying sixth grade devices, we are buying freshman devices. Those devices will follow those kids for the period of time that they are in their building, the Middle School and High School. Once those kids leave those buildings, those Chromebooks will be taken down to lower grade levels and used until they fall off of EOL, and they will live in carts. In theory, their life should be a little bit longer, because they’re not getting shoved in backpacks, taking bus rides home, that kind of thing. So, we’re going to try this and see.

Eric – I’ve done all the things! We have had devices in one building that stay in that building. We have had three different devices in production at times. We use iPads. Typically, we get four years out of an iPad. During COVID, we made some big moves and some big switches and we have our entire district on the same device. So now, it’s just going to stay with the student. And in the same vein of what Chris is doing, we purchase Apple Care on them. A few years back, the value didn’t seem to make sense to us. It just seemed like it was expensive, because we paid a $50 deductible on each device. But, they lowered that to a zero dollar deductible. And so the nice thing is the quick replacement. We send a device and we get one back the next day, pretty much. I don’t have to have anybody in-house to do the repairs. It really streamlined things for us and made me sleep better.

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