Today, most devices use lithium-ion batteries—from your smartphone to the Chromebooks used in your school.
Lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable, with a long life cycle and no memory effect preventing devices from using their full capacity. While the batteries themselves have significantly improved, certain factors can put more demand on your device’s battery life. For teachers who use technology in the classroom, batteries may be seeing an even greater demand with increased use.
As needs for schools change, we must adopt new ways to increase battery life for educators who teach children using various devices.
10 Tips for Boosting Your Battery Life
Laptops, tablets, Chromebooks and iPads introduce students to new learning strategies. Many schools use technology to create a more collaborative classroom environment, providing new opportunities for students to grow.
Devices hold hundreds of digital textbooks and activities teachers can utilize in and out of the classroom. The right technology can even support project-based learning for children in K-12. To get the most out of your school devices, they need a charge that can last.
Here are our top technology tips for increasing the battery life of standard classroom devices. You can apply most of these tips to any name-brand laptops and tablets used for schools.
1. Dim the Screen
One of the quickest drains on a device’s battery life is an excessively bright screen. The screen demands much of your battery life, with brighter screens using more power to illuminate your workstation. Adjust the brightness to the lowest level that is still comfortable on your eyes.
Evidence shows that adjusting light quality in classrooms can help facilitate learning in numerous ways. When natural lighting and energy-efficient LED lights are utilized as a classroom tool, you provide optimum illumination for varied teaching activities—including computer and tablet usage at a more favorable brightness. Educational settings that aim to improve student performance with lighting design allow teachers and students to comfortably dim their screens to even lower levels.
You can manually adjust the brightness of most devices in the Options or Settings area. It’s typically recommended to lower the brightness to at least half. However, the lower you can dim the screen, the better. This adjustment will boost battery life and can benefit most other classroom technology, too. Some devices may even adjust the screen according to your light preferences, brightening or dimming the display in relation to the classroom’s lighting.
2. Keep at Room Temperature
When debating how to make your Chromebook charge last, you must consider the way your device is stored as well as how it’s used. Keep your technology in a dry location that’s anywhere from 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit. Extreme temperatures and dampness can prematurely drain your battery. When devices are routinely stored in such adverse conditions, you diminish your battery’s overall longevity.
Store all school Chromebooks and other devices at room temperature during long periods of inactivity, such as over summer break or winter vacation. Avoid keeping your classroom tablets or laptops in front of windows, as direct sunlight can cause the devices to heat up despite the room’s temperature being at the appropriate level.
Teachers and students should always use their laptops on hard, flat surfaces, too. Blocking the air vents on the back or sides of your device will cause it to run hot. Ensure steps are taken to keep your technology cool and dry at all times.
3. Use Power-Saver Mode
Many modern laptops, tablets and smartphones offer a low-power mode you can enable in Settings. While it might not make sense to use this mode all the time, it will help extend your battery power for most devices. Some technology may even automatically switch to a power-saving mode when the charge falls below a certain percentage.
Certain features shut off when you enable low-power mode, these might include:
- Dim the display brightness
- Turn the screen to black and white
- Notify you to turn off connections
- Stop nonessential wireless features
- Close unused applications
- Shorten the timeout feature
Educators can also encourage students to use these power-saving tactics individually to extend the battery life of classroom laptops and tablets. The power-saving mode simply changes all settings simultaneously to make your charge last.
4. Unplug Any Peripherals When Not in Use
Any USB-powered accessories used with your laptop or tablet draw a constant stream of power when plugged in. Even if a mouse or external microphone is not actively used, it will continue to use power and cause a continuous draw on battery life.
Teachers should unplug microphones, speakers, headsets and other peripherals when they’re needed in the classroom. Create a routine for educators to follow after a video conferencing call that includes unplugging extra peripherals. If children must use headsets in the classroom, teachers should ensure these teaching tools are unplugged after the activity.
It will also help if you unplug any peripherals before safely storing and charging your classroom technology. Innovative charging carts typically only have enough room to hold the devices themselves, reminding students to remove their extra accessories before putting the device away.
5. Turn Off Connections When Not in Use
Wireless features—even connections that aren’t needed at the moment—will constantly search for beacons and signals. When nonessential connections are turned on all day, the battery life will continue to drain with time.
Consider turning off connections to save on battery use, including:
- GPS tracking
- 3G/4G network coverage
- Near-field communication (NFC)
- Wi-Fi network
Specific connections, like GPS or Bluetooth, might be unnecessary during most school days. Even your Wi-Fi network connection can be turned off throughout the day to save energy and prevent your charge from draining too quickly.
Chromebooks support several tasks offline, allowing teachers and students to work in Google Docs, Google Sheets and Gmail without a Wi-Fi connection. These services will automatically sync when you go back online. Make your Chromebook charge last, with no lost emails or deleted files disrupting your workflow.
6. Plug it in When Updating
Updating an unplugged laptop or tablet creates greater demand for the battery and CPU resources. To save energy, schedule updates to occur while your device is plugged in.
Some devices are designed to run updates in the background, such as Chrome OS updates, which happen automatically. You don’t need to worry about plugging your device in during these updates. Often, you won’t even notice when these updates occur. Instead, focus on the updates you are given express notice about. Plug your device in whenever you have the choice to perform an update.
7. Close Tabs and Apps
You put a greater demand on your battery when you leave apps and web pages open in the background.
The battery drains faster when you’re multitasking, especially if the individual applications are more demanding of the system’s resources. Tasks that have a greater demand on your battery often involve listening to music, playing multiplayer games or watching a video. Less demanding tasks include browsing the internet or taking notes.
Chromebooks for education already put less demand on their battery, with fewer applications running in the background than other devices. Whether you’re browsing the web or watching a video, it is important to close the app once you’ve finished using it. Limiting the amount of multitasking your students do on any classroom technology will also increase battery life.
Any tabs you leave open in your browser will frequently refresh to provide the most current information. This function causes technology to use more CPU and RAM when multiple web pages are left open at once. Close unneeded tabs to extend your device’s battery life. Check which apps and web pages use the most battery under Settings if you notice your battery continues to drain too quickly.
8. Reduce Push Notifications
To receive automatic push notifications, your device must frequently communicate over the internet with the information’s originator. Demand is put on your battery every time an app alerts you to new information—whether it’s incoming emails, stock quotes, real-time sports scores or game updates.
Disabling push services or even just reducing notifications’ frequency can help you save energy.
Some information may be worth the drain on your battery life. Thankfully, most devices allow you to disable push notifications for individual apps from the Settings. You can decide how valuable certain information is to your daily life. Turn off push notifications for any apps you rarely use, and keep notifications on for critical information.
9. Update Your Operating System
Updates to the operating system will fix any software bugs that could be affecting your battery performance. Manufacturers may also include new methods to improve power management and boost battery life.
Regularly download and install all available updates to the operating system. You may want to set student devices to update automatically so you have one less thing to worry about. Teachers can also utilize automatic updates, scheduling them to occur whenever the laptop or tablet is safely stored at the end of a workday.
10. Update Your Operating System
Even when your staff and students follow all of the above energy-saving tips, the usable time between charges for your devices can gradually become less and less. That’s why you must aim to slow this decline as much as possible.
Full discharge and recharge cycles are recommended to maximize a battery’s usable life span. Lithium-ion battery life is based on the number of times a device is recharged. When school Chromebooks are correctly charged, you can expect the lithium-ion batteries to hold up for approximately 500 full discharge and recharge cycles.
Lithium-ion batteries use cell configurations to hold the charge. For example, your laptop may use a lithium-ion battery with a 6-cell format. If the battery is recharged when only the first two cells are depleted, you shorten the life expectancy of these cells without utilizing the full charge stored on the remaining four cells. This reduces the overall life cycle since the first few cells will have a lower usable life span due to improper charging.
When you follow a full discharge and recharge cycle for classroom devices, you can save money and resources. Recharge batteries when the power indicator displays below 13% or when the device’s low-power warning appears. This is also when the power-saver mode will turn on for some devices. The goal is to ensure you have nearly depleted the battery’s charge before recharging.
Benefits of Charging Carts & Stations for Power-Saving Initiatives
Teachers who use technology in the classroom need smart and secure methods for charging student devices. A dead battery can become a major disruption to the lesson plan and a distraction to student learning. Mobile charging carts and stationary cabinets allow students to safely store and charge their devices in the classroom, avoiding the hassle of uncharged devices.
Charging carts and stations for classrooms provide several benefits, including:
- Effective organization: Keep classrooms functioning efficiently with an effective means for storing and charging student devices. Teachers can create a routine based on a full discharge and recharge cycle.
- Compatible storage: Charging carts and stations are compatible with various devices for education. Safely and securely store laptops, tablets, Chromebooks and iPads inside.
- Pre-wired compatibility: Eliminate time-consuming wiring. Students can store and charge their devices right away without any messy setup by your staff. And charging carts and stations also simplify how devices are distributed with organized dividers.
- Carts—easy mobility: Educators who use multiple rooms can easily transport charging carts between classrooms throughout the school day. Carts also make moving devices to cool, dry locations for long-term storage much more manageable.
- Simultaneous charging: Charging carts and stations can store and charge up to 48 devices. Effectively charge all your classroom devices at once to ensure they are ready to use when the students need them.
- Device protection: Anti-theft systems provide additional locking and security for devices. Secure carts and stations can even protect devices and battery life by keeping your devices in a dry, shaded location.
Secure Charging and Storage Solutions
At EarthWalk, we design innovative metal charging carts and charging stations for long-term use in your classrooms. Our solutions make the management of K-12 devices more efficient—improving the way you use technology in the classroom and offering better storage of devices for summer break. Choose technology that’s a step ahead. Choose EarthWalk to safely store and charge devices for classrooms.
Our industrial-grade charging carts and stations are made and assembled here in America, and we offer valuable customer and technical support all in the United States. Plus, we offer optional CleanZone device sanitation to effectively clean and disinfect all surfaces, killing 99.9% of germs, viruses and bacteria.
Reach out to learn about the features of our charging carts and stations today, and see how our products can help improve your school’s initiatives to increase technology battery life.
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