Can You Plug In When You Need To?

We're thinking about implementing a student laptop program at my school. What infrastructure issue is most likely to be a hurdle for us?

Top on my list of concerns would be battery life and the capacity of your electrical system.

Mobility is an attractive feature with laptops, but most batteries tend to require charging more often than a specifications list might lead you to believe. There are programs where students carry laptops to and from school and, at least in theory, charge their systems at home. But what will you do if the school day outlasts the battery charge, or if laptops are kept at school and charged there?

Here are some questions you need to raise:

  • Do you have enough electrical outlets for large numbers of students to safely 'plug in' simultaneously?
  • Are these outlets installed in classrooms, the media center, and other locations where students are likely to be working?
  • How many laptops can be plugged in, and in use, before you start blowing circuits?
  • What are the logistics involved in scheduling charging time?

Submitted by: Susan Brooks-Young

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