A generation ago, teaching from a classroom on a cart meant a teacher would have to heap supplies onto a makeshift custodial cart that was the equivalent of three flat shelves on wheels. But with today’s classrooms teeming with technology, that design just won’t do. Teachers have found a number of thoughtful and creative ways to organize materials and activities from the confines of a cart, so it’s only fair that the cart itself should be doing all it can to support this endeavor, including making it easier to use and transport tech.
For decades, the classroom on a cart has been the go-to solution for school districts that have limited classroom space or that have teachers who simply need to be mobile to best serve student needs. These teachers have become masters at making their carts work for them and have devised numerous tricks and methods of organization to get the most out of their carts. Pencils, handouts, folders, supplies—these items always made it on the shelves, but now these carts also have to accommodate AV equipment and computers.
“More and more teachers are delivering their curricula using a hybrid of the online classroom and traditional direct instruction,” explains Tyler Bortner, Intellerum education product manager. “That means they need room on the cart for all of the typical supplies plus space and functionality for a laptop or computer tower and often a computer projector, too.”
Since the days of shelves on wheels, the classroom on a cart has gotten both a tech upgrade and a security upgrade. These mobile stations, referred to as mobile media carts or mobile computer stations, have been reimagined and now include power, grommets for cable management, lockable storage, pull-out workspaces, and full worksurfaces on top.
“Teachers are remarkable when it comes to finding ways to gain efficiencies,” says Bortner. “Mobile workstations compliment these efficiencies by providing teachers with space and support for their tech as well.”
According to Bortner, mobile stations come in a variety of configurations, depending on the type of tech a teacher wants to use. For instance, a mobile media cart can have a tilting shelf for a computer projector that slides out from the main body of the cart and can be angled toward a screen or white board. Likewise, a mobile computer station can have a mounted computer display on a swiveling arm that allows the teacher to turn the screen for students to see. The display feature is particularly useful for teachers who use a learning management system and deliver materials and instruction from online sources. Both types of carts can manage a laptop or a computer tower and still provide plenty of room on top to be used as a workspace or to conference with individual students. Other available features include pullout keyboard trays, storage drawers, and locking options, including electronic locks for keyless entry.
“Security is one of the most dramatic changes to the mobile workstation,” notes Bortner. “Historically, carts were open and provided no way for teachers to secure their items within their carts. The only option was to lock the cart in a classroom.” Now, says Bortner, carts are constructed of heavy duty steel and have lockable doors and drawers, so all of the tech equipment and supplies can be locked inside.
“Teachers used to struggle with the classroom on a cart, but now they’ve figured out how to make it work, and the technology and equipment is there to support them,” concludes Bortner.
Tyler Bortner is the product manager for Intellerum’s education line of store and charge products. Before joining Intellerum in 2013, he earned an elementary education degree from Millersville University and was an elementary school teacher at Red Lion School District in York, PA.
For assistance choosing the right store and charge products for your school’s need, contact Intellerum at 866-875-9594 or firstname.lastname@example.org.