Mick Knowles, Director of B2B, EMEA, ZAGG

Protecting Investments For The Future Of Education

The education industry of today is vastly different to that of just a few years ago. Gone are the days where a singular desktop computer sat at the front of the classroom and students raked up mountains of books and paper photocopies of assignments. Schools today have access to interactive whiteboards, tablets, laptops and a multitude of digital devices that bring vast benefits to both staff and students.

There is, however, a downside to relying on tablets and laptops in schools, which is the device’s fragility. This isn’t a dig at providers of tech hardware – anyone who’s cracked their mobile screen knows how uniquely vulnerable these devices are to drops and knocks. And we all know that children live much more rough-and-tumble lives than adults.

Whether it’s play-fighting in the queue for lunch or a school bag used as a goalpost, the chances of a pupil damaging their device is significantly higher than for all but the clumsiest of adults.

Given the likelihood of breakages it might seem madness that schools would entrust such valuable devices to children. The fact that they do is testament to their transformational effect on education.

Tech for good

It’s not just that children today live their lives through a screen. Tablet computers have a slew of educational benefits including, paradoxically, the ability to enhance pupil’s concentration. That’s because these devices enable an entire class to take part in learning activities at the same time, while teachers can plan more engaging lessons including quizzes and other interactive activities.

What’s more, investing in these devices gives schools access to a range of digital apps, while saving on paper, books, photocopying and other time – and money-intensive resources. Equipping every child with digital devices also ensures that they can take advantage of online resources such as homework submission, school intranets and other digital tools from providers like Firefly or Satchel.

But all these benefits are based on each child having access to a device that works. When a teacher creates a lesson plan based on digital participation, just one broken device can throw the whole plan out of the window – to say nothing of the cost of mending or replacing it.

Investing in the future

The breakage rates for unprotected devices make it clear that schools need to protect their investment and ensure that they minimise the disruption that broken devices can cause. The answer is simple – and affordable. If schools spend a little extra on supplying a rugged case for every device, they can massively reduce the chance of accidental breakages.

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Not all device protectors are created equal, however. Schools should choose a rugged cover that can protect a device when dropped from six feet; ideally the cover should also include a magnetic keyboard attachment for enhanced productivity.

Rugged cases should also be robust enough to cope with day-to-day wear. As any parents know, if a child can pull something to pieces, they will. But it’s also important to think beyond the device and consider how to protect the child as well.

The cost of non-protection

Adults who decry the amount of screen time that children have today are right about one thing – it can have particularly harmful effects on young people. In children, more than 65 per cent of blue light is transmitted to the retina. At around 25 years, only 20 per cent of the light in the damaging 400 to 460nm wavelength is transmitted.

Another factor is that children, obviously, have much shorter arms, and typically hold screens twice as close to their faces. The inverse square law governing radiation means that children are exposed to four times the amount of harmful blue light, thanks to the greater proximity of their devices.

Schools have a duty of care to their pupils, which is one very strong argument against having them staring at screens in the classroom. Yet this problem is easily solved with a rugged device cover that also incorporates a filter that protects them from digital eye strain caused by blue light.

And it’s not just eye strain that parents and teachers need to worry about. Consider also “back strain”. Schoolchildren have enough to carry around already without a heavy, bulky case for their tablet or computer, which is why these covers should be as lightweight as possible without compromising on protection.

Tangible benefits

Schools across the region have long been facing a major budget crisis, which is why their efforts to equip pupils with digital devices is especially commendable. The results in the classroom speak for themselves, so it’s vital that they are able to protect their investment – and, of course, to ensure that lessons and learning go unhindered by breakages.

The future of education lies increasingly with digital devices. Let’s protect school’s investment in technology – while also protecting children’s eyesight at such a sensitive time in their development.

Mick Knowles, Director of B2B, EMEA, ZAGG

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