Tablet Charging Rack or the Tablet trolley has been THE most critical element of TABLAB. But when we had started our journey, it was not so. Here’s a story of an important innovation we have brought for rural digital learning.
Our First Project
First time, when we had given tablets for learning to students in a government school, I was very excited to visit and see the response.
I was hoping that students would be truly excited to get their hands on a touch and play device. While they have seen smartphones in their homes, they do not really get to spend as much time as they would like to. And here in their schools, they were getting a chance to operate a device of their own and in whatever way they wanted to. So a very natural expectation I had was kids would be having a wonderful time.
And indeed they were.
This was our first project. We had butterflies in our stomach and were bubbling with excitement. We really wanted to see a sense of joy in children’s eyes.
When I visited the school and saw children happily working on their tablets, my first emotion I remember clearly was a sense of relief. I quickly thanked God that all tablets were working fine and that students were really into it. Then, I proceeded to speak with some children.
A digital learning intervention in a government school has to be of course looked at from a long term perspective. But standing there in the school, talking to these children made me feel that we were on the right track to providing enjoyable & personalised learning to such last mile learners.
The very next moment I had a remarkable realisation, that in many ways has become a critical aspect of our TABLAB solution. So, what was it?
Eureka Moment – A teacher shares his experience of using TABLAB
After I had satiated myself with the children, I went up to their teacher and asked about his experience.
“That’s my co-founder Puneet talking to the teachers”
Typically, while conducting a TABLAB session, we saw teachers instructing their students on which topic to learn and they were going around helping each child individually. I thought this was great.
We are helping them to manage their class better, every child is equally engaged and she is also able to give personalised attention to every child without too much hassle. What more would a teacher want? And how wrong I was.
I asked the teacher who was there in the class at that moment, if she faced any challenges in using tablets with her children. She very innocently looked at me and said, “ I don’t know how to charge these tablets”.
And I had a eureka moment.
Come to think of it, to expect a government school teacher to walk into the school every morning, take out the tablets from her almirah and then find out as many number of switches as the number of tablets is actually quite a cumbersome task. And on top of it, she also has to keep a track of which tablets have completed their charging.
What happens when the teacher who is responsible for managing tablets is absent? What happens if at the time teacher is readying to charge the tablets, electricity suddenly goes off?
Core Philosophy – To make it easy for all stakeholders to use Technology
Our core philosophy at iDream Education has been to build student centric digital learning solutions that solve all challenges technology has faced in schools. And therefore we dedicated ourselves to solving the issue of storage and charging of tablets. For I knew, if we are able to solve this, we can also significantly improve our average daily utilisation in schools.
We immediately got into the work mode.
Very soon we were able to launch our first model of a tablet charging cart or very simply a tablet trolley. It was a charging cum storage rack for the tablets, which served dual purpose.
- It had dedicated slots to store each device. It was a lockable charging station and hence ensured security
- It had an inbuilt electrical system to auto charge all tablets simultaneously with just one switch
And here’s how it looked like then:
Our First Model of Tablet Charging Rack
Solving Multiple Challenges with one product
It acts like a docking station for multiple devices. With one single device, we solved multiple challenges:
- Teachers to no longer worry about secure storage of tablets
- Teachers to no longer worry about charging these devices every day. All they need to do is just press one switch and all devices will get charged simultaneously
- Teachers to not worry about keeping a track of whether devices have completely charged or if they are getting overheated
- Very critically, we put an end to dependence on electricity. Because once inside the charging rack, all devices can get charged whenever there is electricity in the school. So, during the time when the school is running, the learning never stops – whether there is electricity or there isn’t
- Finally, there was no dependence on any one teacher. Anyone can put the switch ON and ensure devices are charged
The first thing we did was install the tablet charging rack at the very first school from where the journey had started. I still remember how that teacher suddenly felt so relaxed and promised me to let her children spend more time on self learning via tablets.
Very easy & simple to use – even a child can operate
Eventually, of course we took the tablet storage and the charging station to all our schools and it is now a core part of our TABLAB solution (whether you are using TABLAB in government school and/or private school) .
Continuously fine tuning to build the best suited solution
People call it tablet charging cart, tablet storage rack, tablet charging cabinet or even tablet cart etc. We simply love to call it the TABLAB Trolley.
Over time, we have also researched and fine tuned to launch several other models of the tablet storage and charging station which are:
- Light weight and so can be easily carried around
- With wheels at the bottom to ensure portability
- Much stronger material, which ensures durability
- Safer electrical system which also protect the tablets during power fluctuation
- Extremely customisable depending upon the number of tablets and usage. We have also built a wall mounted charging station for places where it can simply be hanged on the wall
The infograph below summarises everything you need to know about the tablet charging rack.
Our average daily utilisation of educational tablets in schools has gone up from just 30 minutes earlier to over 2 hours per day per school ever since we started setting up the Tablet charging rack.
What lies ahead?
Our vision w.r.t TABLAB is to really make it into a simple plug n play digital learning lab, which is easy to set up and even easier to use and manage. It should complement the psychology of all stakeholders in our school ecosystem – whether government or private.
With the tablet charging rack and our continued innovation around student centric digital learning, we wish to make TABLAB as the best suited way of using educational tablets in schools. I am happy that we are heading in the right direction.
With our experiences, we have come to firmly believe that the real innovation is in solving the finer problems which make or break the usage and impact barriers.
Have you had any experience of using tablets in schools? Please do share with us your thoughts and also how can we further improve the experience for teachers and students.
If there is anything else you would like to discuss about the charging rack (TabLab Trolley) or any other aspect of TABLAB, please feel free to leave your comments OR write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org