How to Deploy a Summer Device Lending Program
School districts with established 1:1 programs have been increasingly setting policies that extend the loan of the device through the summer for students who want or need the device. Policies related to acceptable use typically remain in place and unchanged, and existing technical support is usually sufficient. But if you have only just established your device lending program, here are five tips to consider when deploying a summer device lending program:
1 | EXTENDING LOANS
Given the unique circumstances of the pandemic, school districts may want to consider extending loans of devices to students through the summer and into the fall, especially as school districts update their learning plans to prepare for the possibility of continuing remote learning.
Delaying returns to the opening of school introduces the possibility that conditions have improved enough to allow a more simple return process with students back in the school building.
2 | IMPACT ON STAFF CAPACITY
A summer device lending program changes the summer work plans for IT departments. While this may not be as challenging for school districts with established 1:1 programs, it might present resourcing issues for those whose lending programs were created to serve students who lacked device access during remote learning. School districts should explore ways to accommodate summer schedules and workload for IT departments, such as relaxing summertime technical support response times for most students.
3 | SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE
Communication with families ahead of summer months is key, as it helps establish expectations around reporting hardware issues and working with the IT department on software updates and repairs. Managing software updates for students with residential broadband access can be as simple as connecting the device to power and WiFi, and leaving it turned on overnight so that the updates can be installed remotely with the aid of mobile device management platforms. Remember to plan for the potential influx of devices that have not been updated or repaired over the summer when school resumes.
4 | DEVICE AVAILABILITY
Extending loans for devices that were originally housed in mobile carts or classrooms means that they may not be available for those uses at the start of the year. This is especially the case if a collection is delayed to the fall.
5 | SUMMER LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
The key benefits to extending loans through the summer is that school districts can weigh summer learning opportunities into their decision making.
- For secondary school students, summer reading and other assignments are not uncommon in many school districts, and knowing that your students have device access provides you with different ways of structuring those assignments.
- For elementary school students, both teachers and parents may appreciate informal learning opportunities for young students to help mitigate summer learning loss and the disruption to learning caused by shelter in place.
- Communicate with the families of students that will retain the device for the summer:
- Plan for the collection of equipment as appropriate at the end of the summer, if applicable.