By Syed Ali, founder and CEO, EZO.
In today’s digital age, technology has become an integral part of the education landscape. K-12 schools are increasingly relying on technology to enhance teaching methods, improve student engagement, and streamline administrative processes. Although the investment is necessary, the rapid pace of technological advancements brings with it significant challenges.
During the COVID pandemic, millions of K-12 students across the US relied on borrowed devices from their school districts, with Chromebooks being the most common for remote learning. Schools rapidly adopted Chromebooks in 2020, as the demand surged during the transition to remote or hybrid learning models, resulting in millions of students receiving laptops, tablets, and Chromebooks from school districts nationwide.
Fast forward a few years, and now, many K-12 districts are still scrambling to account for all those devices, year after year. This includes not only locating and recovering missing devices, but also making sure clear policies and procedures are in place for future distribution, collection, liability, and insurance claim filings for those devices that can’t be found, as well as budgeting time and staff to inspect and repair any tablets that do come back before they’re redistributed.
Take for example the 77,000-student Greenville County, S.C., school system which made headlines during the summer of 2020 when it revealed that it had been trying to recover nearly 5,000 of the more than 58,000 Chromebooks that were distributed to students during that school year.
Another example comes from the Chicago Public School District. The district reported that computers and other devices that amount to at least 8% of the Chicago Public Schools’ “technology assets” had been listed as “lost” during the pandemic. Also, the district said it had depended on its schools in the district to take a regular inventory, but that the process continues to be time-consuming and inconsistent as only 35% of Chicago’s 500 district-run schools have a technology coordinator on staff.