Welcome to Planning for Sustainability. This post is the second in a four-part series designed to help education leaders gather and use data to create optimal—and sustainable—digital learning environments. Here’s where you can read part one of this series.
This week, let’s look at how monitoring general digital access trends (daily ClassLink logins) and establishing processes can help you establish and maintain device access (even when funding declines).
1. Catch Functionality Issues Early
First, you can use ClassLink Analytics to gain insight into how many users log in to their ClassLink Launchpad daily, weekly and monthly. As the years go on, you can see the daily logins a year ago, two years ago, etc. During 2021-2023, as your district purchases (and maintains) more devices, schools may see an increase in logins.
If your school district does not pay attention to sustainability plans and device replacement, those daily logins could decline. That decrease could point to a reduction in functioning devices. Pay careful attention to login analytics now, and you’ll be alerted to issues early.
2. Use an Asset Management System
Now is the time to consider what you can do to avoid ending up with an irreplaceable fleet when federal funding for technology ceases in 2024 and you don’t have the funds to replace the items you purchased three years ago.
An asset management system is vital. Enter all of your new devices into the system and record their model/brand, when purchased, funding source, and location so that you can quickly identify the age of your equipment. Building a strong lifecycle plan for each model of devices will help you preplan when you need to replace each model.
3. Establish Baseline Expectations
Use ClassLink Analytics to monitor and record all of your daily logins by school or district during these times of plentiful resources. This step will give you a benchmark set of expectations for logins, engagement, and learning that you can measure against when resources are more scarce in the future. By having historical data on what daily logins looked like with plentiful funding, you have data to show what your level of excellence should be regarding daily logins, even when funding is sparse in 2024.
4. Create an Incremental Replacement Plan
I recommend that you plan to replace a small fraction (20-30%) of all the devices you’ve purchased in about two years. Replace that same fraction the following year and so on until you replace the whole fleet. This approach will help you avoid large budget spikes in purchasing and spread out the hardware purchasing cycle to ensure all of your technology is stable.
Here are some tips for making the most of this process:
- During replacement, keep an eye on the total daily logins. Do you see a rise or decline in the logins? If the data changes, are there factors besides the device replacement impacting your login data? Taking a proactive approach to monitoring login data can help you spot internal trends and help your team do root cause analysis on factors that impact logins.
- Keep accurate records of which devices you decommission and replace, so you always know what is being used, where, and by whom.
- Acquire a green way of disposing of your electronic devices (e-waste). Some school districts use technology disposal companies when devices reach their end of life. Other districts erase their devices and give them to graduating students, while other districts use them until they stop working altogether. Whatever your process, it’s essential to have a record-keeping system so you are aware of your inventory at all times.
Our goal is that you don’t get to the year 2024 and find that your logins have dramatically decreased because students have no hardware to use for learning. Earmarking the login metric now and consistently monitoring it is one indicator you could use as you plan for and execute device lifecycle management.
Stay tuned for the next post in this series where Diane shares how districts can use data to determine future spending. Follow us on social media to stay up to date with new entries in this series, or subscribe using the form below.