How to ensure your school’s ICT is sustainable

Vicki Cole

Vicki Cole is an Innovate My School expert and writes regular articles on laptop security and charging solutions for charging mobile ICT en masse.

Vicki works at mobile ICT security, charging and storage expert LapSafe® Products, the company behind the UK’s first ever laptop trolley. LapSafe® Products has been a trusted brand within the education sector for more than a decade, providing superior solutions to track, manage, store and charge laptops, netbooks and tablets since 2000. LapSafe® Products pioneered the industry it now leads and manufactures the most comprehensive range of charging products on the market. Recent products include: the UnoCart™ sync and charge for iPads, the ClassBuddy™ quality low-cost laptop trolley and the RFID Diplomat™ laptop locker.

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For today’s schools, sustainability should entail far more than being green.

As well as being environmentally aware when selecting ICT, schools need to ensure that their equipment is built to last in order to save on their finances as well as electronic waste.

In the face of budget squeezes and a lack of investment, choosing sustainable ICT is essential to ensure that schools are ICT ready for the long run and that pupils do not miss out.

So, how can schools ensure that their ICT is sustainable?

Safeguard ICT equipment

The simplest way to make sure that ICT lasts the test of time is to protect it from both theft and the wear and tear of classroom life.

By taking good care of ICT equipment, you can reduce the likelihood that your school will need to spend any more money than necessary replacing technology. Make sure that you have got adequate anti-theft precautions in place and, if you store these devices in a laptop trolley, pick one that has sophisticated security features.

It is also a good idea to think carefully about the quality of the ICT equipment that you purchase. Value for money is obviously essential, but sometimes picking the cheapest option can end up being more expensive in the long run if you have to repeatedly replace or fix equipment because it is not up to scratch.

Recycling old equipment

Just because a laptop’s battery has died, it does not necessarily mean that the device is useless. It may be cheaper to replace a battery than purchase an entire new machine, or, if a lot of your laptops need new batteries, you could invest in a desktop power station. These units charge and power laptops from a single desk location, enabling schools to continue to use laptops with ‘dead’ batteries that can no longer hold charge. This may mean that you could carry on using your existing equipment, rather than spend money on purchasing new machines or batteries.

Cut the carbon

Of course, being sustainable is also about being energy efficient. Under Government plans, new school buildings should be carbon neutral by 2016, and existing schools must make considerable energy usage reductions. Cutting carbon emissions clearly makes business sense, and by investing in the most energy efficient ICT equipment, lasting reductions in energy consumption can be achieved.

Before you buy any new equipment, check its energy rating and explore whether it has any in-built energy saving features. For example, some laptops trolleys are fitted with timers or intelligent power saving technologies to cut the power to fully charged machines to ensure that no energy is wasted.

When it comes to investing in sustainable ICT, try not to see new equipment through simply green tinted glasses: think environment, think recyclable, think long term.

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