We’ve all felt it before—the zing that comes from being shocked by a random object. What we often refer to as static electricity is electrostatic discharge (ESD). While ESD is mostly harmless when we experience it, it can affect tech like K-12 devices leading to product defects and unsafe conditions. This could be especially detrimental in the K-12 device environment with limited excess inventory and the need for fast repair turnaround. Today, we’ll discuss how to prevent ESD during K-12 device repair.
What is ESD?
ESD occurs when an electric discharge builds up and is transferred to another object. It can be accompanied by a visible spark and a popping sound.
How to Prevent ESD in K-12 Devices
The best way to prevent ESD is to create ESD-safe areas by taking precautions or using ESD-safe or anti-static materials. This can be done in multiple ways.
Check Your Space
As ESD affects K-12 devices during the repair process, evaluating your repair space is important. Where does your school perform its repairs? If possible, choose a room with linoleum or tile flooring over carpeting.
Take Appropriate Grounding Precautions
Grounding directs excess energy to the ground via a wire, dissipating any residual static electricity.
- Grounding your work area, including tables and chairs, is a great way to prevent static discharge from damaging your devices.
- You can also ground yourself using an anti-static wrist strap and silicone mat to reduce any static electricity.
Silicone mat and anti-static wrist strap
Be Careful During Dry Seasons
Whether it’s winter or your district is in a drier climate, be careful when conditions are dry.
- You don’t have to measure the humidity levels precisely—your own body can be a good indicator of dryness.
- To mitigate static discharge, use an anti-static wrist strap to reduce static electricity.
AGParts Education can help your district prevent ESD with anti-static wrist straps and silicone mats. To get started, contact us today!
*This is a featured article from Library Science Degrees Online, written by Alina Moore.*
The public library has been and continues to be a space for a community of people to find a new favorite book, attend programs, and receive services, all for free. All of these services and materials have been beneficial for many community groups, specifically for families and youth looking for external help when it comes to supporting a child’s development. In the study of youth development and education, it is shown that children and teens learn and access information in different ways than adults to stay engaged, recall information, and then utilize what they learned in real life.
Libraries that provide STEM-based educational materials and resources for youth have shown advancement in children’s critical and physical development, all for free at the library. When looking for STEM educational materials and resources for youth, the library allows families and youth to access the materials on their own time, at the academic levels they are at, without the pressure of rushing or consuming information that is not at their level, and with no restrictions on accessing the resources. Because youth engage with information and learning processes differently from adults, libraries provide STEM-based activities and resources through a play-based formula while keeping the youth engaged and developing academic skills. This article will cover what exactly STEM is, the correlation to library services, the variety of STEM programs that are available in libraries, and the different youth age groups that libraries cater to when providing STEM educational materials and resources for free. Additionally, this article includes resources for those interested in seeking more information about STEM-based education that can be done at home or virtually.
Types of STEM
STEM is an acronym referring to the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields of study. The term was created for youth in schools from kindergarten through college to improve skills in these specific learning developments. STEM can be used in schools, in career fields, and in our everyday routines.
- Science is the first subject area in STEM. Science is the study of the structures and behaviors of the physical and natural worlds. Scientists practice through observation, experimentation, and the testing of theories against the evidence they obtain. Early learning of science with library materials and services can be done through program themes of cooking, art, and music activities, building block play, sensory table exploration, and outdoor-based activities. Science within STEM is a way to implement real-life concepts into the learning process.
- Technology is the second subject area in STEM. Technology has been a blooming and growing tool for early learning over the past few decades, and it’s only become more valuable and utilized as the years continue. Technology in library materials and services can be done through digital educational resources and materials, and tech devices like robotics, computers, and databases.
- Engineering is the third subject area in STEM. Engineering is the concept of the design, building, and use of engines, machines, and structures. It can be implemented in various academic activities for early childhood development. Engineering with library materials and services can be done through play-based activities focused on understanding movement, force, design planning, and more.
- Mathematics is the final subject area in STEM. Mathematics is a skill that begins very early in early childhood development and is continuously developed as a child grows. Mathematics with library materials and services can be done through interactive tools with numbers, shapes, formulaic problem-solving, and basic financial literacy.
STEM Programs in Libraries
STEM-based programs in libraries can differ slightly from programs in schools or other educational institutions and organizations. Most of the STEM-based services provided at the library are free and accessible to a wide range of ages. Services and programs may differ between libraries, but many have STEM-based services that can be made available to families. Below are a few examples of STEM-based services that libraries provide.
- Technology: Digital services
Libraries need to continuously keep up with the information needs and digital advancements in society to accommodate community needs. With the continued evolution of technology, libraries provide digital services for patrons and youth to use for free. Digital services in libraries may consist of computer and internet usage in computer centers, electronic materials like digital downloads of books, music, and videos, as well as tech program services like ‘Google Apps and the Cloud’ or ‘Basics of Web Design’.
- Engineering: Programs (Makerspaces)
Libraries incorporate engineering skills mainly through programs and services. A notable service most public libraries have available for users is a Makerspace area, where users can access collaborative space to make, learn, or explore various tools to make STEM-based creations. Some engineering creations that can be made in a Makerspace are robotics, woodworking, 3D modeling, or creating inventions.
- Science + Math: Materials (kits)
Libraries incorporate science and mathematics in many ways, but a notable service provided that involves science and math is through STEM kits that users check out and take home with them. These kits mainly target K–12 graders, with a focus on developing various science and math skills. Some examples of STEM kits libraries may have would be beginning coding kits, a kit on fossils, or 3D models. There are numerous types of kits available for users who are looking to enhance or develop science and math skills.
STEM for Early Childhood
Early childhood is categorized as youth ages 0–24 months old. This is typically the starting stage and the most important time to begin a child’s development. Within this age group, every experience is new, exciting, and sometimes overwhelming. Because all experiences are new, the structure surrounding the incorporation of basic skills is important. Libraries have a multitude of STEM educational materials and resources for youth in their early childhood that can help begin their development of STEM skills. Libraries provide services that are designed to help young patrons develop STEM-based skills through play. Some STEM materials that are useful for youth in their early childhood development are materials that may be applied through reading board books, puzzles, building blocks, and hands-on educational activity tables. Pre-programmed educational digital games on computers or Launchpads are available at some libraries and through programs like Storytime that provide guidance for caretakers and the child through gross and fine motor skills while doing STEM-based activities.
- STEMIE is a website that provides additional resources to educators and families that promotes STEM learning in young children
STEM for Pre-K through Elementary School
Pre-K through elementary school is categorized as youth ages 3-11 years old. Libraries provide STEM-based services to this age group through their books, programs, and resources. Around the time of this age group’s cognitive development, they are at the beginning of constructing their social skills, grasping a sense of individuality, learning about their independent needs, and learning through intentional play. Some examples of STEM materials that libraries provide that are useful for this age group are hands-on explorative activities such as DIY creations that are beginner-friendly biology, chemistry, and physics concepts. Some services provide this age group with circuit kits, coding, animal exploration of fossils, habitats, prints, and digital literacy devices that can help guide the child’s development. Additionally, Libraries may bring in presenters from STEM organizations that can give this age group a personable insight experience from a persona in the STEM career field, as well as provide museum passes to STEM-based children’s museums.
- Funbrain is a website that provides educational STEM Games for youth grades K-8 with children’s book references and literary characters.
- Miss Humblebee Academy is an award-winning, online, and offline curriculum-based program that prepares children ages 3 to 6 for kindergarten milestones. Users will need to check their local library for a free remote access code.
STEM for Middle School
Middle school is categorized as youth ages 12–14 years old. This age group is evolving their understanding of personal interests and gaining agency through their independence and creativity. Engaging in STEM-based activities and services allows this age group to begin applying STEM to real-life problem-solving challenges and everyday materials they may come across. Because the middle school age group is beginning to understand and conduct more expansive STEM concepts, libraries can provide this group with numerous more extensive STEM services that a younger age group may not be equipped to partake in yet. Some STEM-based services that libraries provide for free include coding programs with real-life implementation using devices like Ozobots or various types of circuiting kits, simple machine concepts using robotics or building equipment, and STEM-based chemistry activities that may utilize food or everyday household ingredients. There are many other STEM-based services and activities that students in middle school can have access to in the library. All of these examples and more are available in libraries for youth to play and explore.
- School Library Journal is a journal that provides educators and caretakers with resources and materials for youth development. The website includes articles on STEM resources using LittleBits devices for coding and other STEM-based activities for young users to explore.
- Literacy Enrichment After-School Program (LEAP) is an out-of-school time program that partners with librarians to provide hands-on tutoring, STEM activities, workshops, and academic resources.
STEM for High School
High school is categorized as youth ages 15–18 years old. For this age group, the teens begin strengthening STEM-based skills and evolve their knowledge into more practical and hands-on play and exploration of STEM concepts. Though it is known that keeping this age group engaged in academic and STEM-based activities can be challenging at times, libraries provide playful and appealing STEM-based services that can keep teens growing in their STEM knowledge, help support their interests, and begin an exploration of careers that focus on STEM. Some STEM-based services libraries have available for teens would include Makerspace programs that give designated time for teens to gather in a space to be creative with innovative gadgets, music engineering in Makerspaces with the instruments and production equipment that teens can play and experiment with, as well as services for teens preparing for academic testing like free SAT practice. Most of the STEM-based materials and services for teens are centered on creativity but provide enough of a challenge to develop additional skill sets and implement them in real life. This allows this age group to discover strengths and areas for improvement that will prepare them when exploring career options and navigating social challenges.
- TeenLife article provides teens with STEM resources to explore that can be adapted to career fields in STEM.
- FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a Youth-Serving Nonprofit STEM education organization that provides programs for ages 4-18 that are focused on robotics.
- HessunAcademy article showcases additional examples of STEM activities and projects for High School students that can guide their academic development at home and in school.
When it comes to a device, Chromebooks simply can’t be beat in terms of maintenance. Chrome OS updates and security patches are regularly delivered by Google and run in the background. There is little to no software and Chromebooks are also lean on hardware. However, there are a few tips and tricks on how to tune up a Chromebook to boost performance and your user experience.
How to Tune Up a Chromebook
Here are eight tips and tricks to tune up a Chromebook. Most of these tips, or combinations thereof, can be done in 15-20 minutes.
Uninstall Unnecessary Apps & Extensions
Required Time: 3 minutes
Recommended Frequency: Quarterly, or as needed
A great tip for all your devices—uninstalling unnecessary apps and extensions. Apps that you don’t use can slow your Chromebook’s speed and performance. They sometimes run in the background eating bandwidth and slowing load times of web pages.
Also, extra apps and extensions:
- Open the door to unnecessary data sharing
- Take up limited local storage
- Are a visual eyesore
How: To remove unwanted apps, access chrome:extensions in a new browser window. Review the items thoroughly and remove any unneeded apps or extensions. If you are on the fence about certain apps, toggle the app off. This deactivates the app but leaves the app on your Chromebook. If you miss it after a few days, activate it. If you don’t notice its absence, delete it.
Clear Your Cache
Required Time: 1 minute
Recommended Frequency: Daily, or after every browser session
Is Google Chrome especially sluggish or behaving squirrely? Clearing your browser’s cache could be just the fix you need.
Clearing your browser’s cache is a great performance tip for any device. It removes unnecessary files and cookies that are stored when you visit websites. It’s one of the quickest and easiest hacks, too!
It’s good to get into the habit of clearing your cache after each browser session or at the end of the day. Another great feature about clearing your cache is you can customize what you delete. For example, you can choose to remove cookies and cached files, but leave your browsing history intact.
How: In Google Chrome, click the snowman menu (three vertical dots) in the top right of the browser window. From there, follow these commands: Settings > Privacy and security > Clear browsing data. Be sure to select exactly what you want to remove under both the Basic and Advanced tabs.
Review Extension Permissions
Required Time: 5 minutes
Recommended Frequency: Quarterly, or after new extensions are added
You can control how and when an extension is allowed to access data on your device, a feature introduced in 2019.
There are several options available now. Extensions can:
- Access browsing data all the time without restrictions
- Access browsing data only during the period of use
- Never access browsing data
How: Access chrome:extensions. Review access for each extension under Site access in Details.
Choose wisely. Most extensions need access to some sort of browsing data to function. If an extension keeps requesting a higher level of permission, chances are it needs it to run. You can upgrade its access or remove it entirely.
Uninstall/Update Unnecessary Android or Linux Apps
Required Time: 3 minutes
Recommended Frequency: Every 6-12 months
Much like the first tip, you can also remove any unneeded Android or Linux apps. The same benefits for removal apply.
For Android or Linux apps that survived, be sure to check and install updates. These apps don’t always update automatically.
How to Uninstall Apps: From Chromebook’s launcher, review apps. To remove unwanted apps, right click or long press, then Uninstall.
How to Update Android Apps: Access My apps & games in Google Play Store. Follow on-screen prompts to download updates.
How to Update Linux Apps: From Chromebook’s Terminal app, enter sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade into the prompt command to update.
Required Time: 5 minutes
Recommended Frequency: Every 6 months or as needed
At its best, a Chromebook is equipped with all sorts of possible shortcuts to save time and boost productivity. It’s up to you to harness their power.
A Chromebook’s tray or shelf is akin the Windows taskbar or a MacBook’s dock. Customize your tray to reflect the apps you use most frequently by adding/removing apps and website shortcuts:
Add an app: Use the launcher key to find the app you wish to pin to your shelf. Right click on the app icon and select Pin to Shelf.
Add a webpage: Open the site you wish to add to your shelf. Click the snowman menu (three vertical dots), then select Create Shortcut. For a desktop experience, select Open as Window.
Remove an app: Right click on the app icon in your shelf that you wish to remove and select Unpin.
Create Keyword Shortcuts
A great time-saving tip is to create shortcuts for internal functions or webpages based on keywords. For example, you can create a shortcut to pull up Chromebook settings simply by typing cs into your search bar.
How: Go to the website you want to create a keyword shortcut for. Copy the URL. Access chrome:settings/searchengines in your search bar. Click Add, then enter the information about the following information about the shortcut:
- Search engine will be the name of destination URL
- Keyword is what you type into the address bar to return URL
- Paste the URL you’ve copied into URL
Clean Cloud Storage & Sync Downloads Folder
Required Time: 3 minutes
Recommended Frequency: Every 1-3 months, or as needed
Remove unwanted or unneeded files from your Chromebook’s Files app every couple of months. This will reduce your clutter and keep your files organized.
Since Chromebooks have limited local storage, sync your downloads folder to your Google Drive. After you complete this step, all downloads will be saved to the cloud instead of locally.
How: From chrome:settings > Advanced > Location > Downloads > Change. Then, select a folder, or create a Downloads folder.
Enable Night Light
Time Required: 1 minute
Recommended Frequency: Once
Night Light adjusts your Chromebook’s display to make it less bright in evening hours or in limited lighting.
How: Two ways to do this. Enable Night Light under Quick Settings panel or within Chrome OS settings. From chrome:settings > Displays > Night Light. From there, edit the schedule to turn on the Night Light during certain hours of the day.
Enable Universal Voice Input
Time Required: 1 minute
Recommended Frequency: Once
You can enable system-wide dictation on your Chromebooks, just as you can use Siri on a MacBook or Cortana in Windows.
After this option is enabled, a small microphone will appear in the lower right corner of your screen next to notifications. Tap it any time you wish to use this option.
How: From chrome:settings > Advanced > Accessibility > Manage accessibility features > Enable dictation (speak to type).
For more Chromebook tips and tricks, check out our blogs on Chromebooks Basics and Chromebook Tips for Power Users.
AGParts Education supports 7,500+ innovative 1:1 school districts in Chromebook parts supply and technology buyback. Contact us today to see how we can help your school.
The popularity of Chromebooks is undeniable, especially in schools. Inexpensive and lightweight, they make for ideal student devices. But what happens when these devices breakdown? Today, we’ll cover exactly what is needed for in-house Chromebook repair.
Why In-House Repairs?
This is probably your first question when considering in-house Chromebook repair: why? There are three main reasons to consider:
- Ease of repair: Since parts of a Chromebook are few, repairs are generally easy and straightforward. This makes Chromebook repairs ideal to perform in house.
- Cost savings: In-house repairs save money as you will only need to pay for the cost of parts, rather than the cost of labor and parts.
- Time savings: Get your devices back into your students’ hands faster with in-house repairs.
What You Need for In-House Repairs
Before you get started, be sure to have the following lined up and ready to go.
Any successful in-house repair starts with thorough and reliable instructions. That’s where we come in. We’ve built a repair video library of 250 plus repair videos for 50 plus popular Chromebook models, available on YouTube and Google Drive. Each model includes four repairs: motherboard, battery, LCD, and palm rest replacements. Performed by an experienced technician with guided voiceover, these videos are essential for any repair.
Your district will need a set of standard tools to perform any Chromebook repair. You can find everything you need in our complete Chromebook Repair Tool Kit.
- Spudger or Pry Tool: Essential to any Chromebook repair, a spudger or pry tool safely separates pressure-fit plastic components without damage.
- Manual Screwdriver: Most repairs will require a #0 Philips manual screwdriver.
- Static Mat: An electrostatic discharge mat protects your devices, and the repairer, from any electrostatic discharge common to electronics.
- Anti-Shock/Anti-Static Wrist Strap: Also referred to as a grounding bracelet, these wrist straps attach to your static mat and protect your devices and repairers against static electricity.
Oftentimes Chromebook repairs require replacing a part like a battery as opposed to fixing a component. The most important thing to consider when securing a Chromebook parts supplier is the quality of parts. It cannot be overstated how important purchasing authentic OEM or equivalent Chromebook parts is. Generic, counterfeit parts are not only bound to fail but they pose a serious safety risk to staff and students as they are made with substandard components. Since counterfeits can be tough to spot, the only way to ensure that your district receives authentic parts is to purchase parts from a reliable Chromebook parts supplier only, like AGParts Education.
Encounter an issue during an in-house repair? Be sure to have a team you can trust on standby. Our dedicated sales executives can connect you with our knowledgeable tech team to assist with any questions or issues regarding repairs.
How to Set Up a Successful In-House Repairs Program
How can your district set itself up for long-term success? Here are some ideas:
Assign a Dedicated Team for Repairs
Whether it is a team of one or 10, assign specific staff members to handle repairs. These in-house techs will accrue the most experience in repair and reduce the chance of device damage and repair failure. Having a dedicated repair team also ensures consistency in repair. Since Chromebook repairs are generally straightforward with reliable instructions, it doesn’t have to be electronics wizard.
It could be that you don’t have the available staff or bandwidth to take this on in house. If financially feasible, consider hiring a part-time staff member that serves as the dedicated repair technician.
A creative way to perform in-house repairs is by involving your students. This is a great opportunity for students to learn more about electronics and what it takes to maintain them. You can create an elective class or an after-school club that focuses on device repair. An added benefit of involving students is creating student ambassadors—students sensitive to how devices are handled and used.
However your district chooses to perform their repairs, AGParts Education is here for all of your Chromebook repair needs. Contact us for more information.
Almost 90% of teenagers have home access to a computer and almost half of teenagers say they’re online almost constantly. It’s more important than ever before to teach internet safety for high school students. This is due in part to complacency—with such computer prevalence, it’s easy to become relaxed and fatigued on the most basic internet safety principles.
Why? Well, let’s not forget that teenagers (13-17 years old) grew up with this technology. In the early and mid 2000s, when this age group was born, computer ownership fluctuated around 75% in US. The iPhone, which not only made the smartphone a household name, but a household requirement, launched in 2007. This technology was in their hands earlier than any other generation.
How do you combat this complacency? While it may seem paradoxical, it’s important to return to the basics, but also teach more advanced safety tips. Here are five tips in teaching internet safety for high school students:
Teach the Risks & Rewards
Internet safety all starts with educating all students on the dangers and risks of being online. Be open and honest. Don’t sugar coat—transparency is key. Since high schoolers are older, this is a great time to share any unpleasant personal experiences you’ve had with the internet. This is not to paint the internet as a bad place, but to remind them that there are dangers.
It’s also important to remind high students that what they contribute to the internet, including what they share on social media, can stay with them a long time. Social media is often used a tool to screen candidates for jobs and college entrance. They should never post anything that is discriminatory to anyone, even in jest.
Teach the Art of Data Mining
Encourage older students to perform an exhaustive data mine on themselves once a quarter. For someone who has regularly Googled herself over the years, I was shocked what my latest results returned. An uncomfortable amount of personal information including current address, old phone numbers and addresses, family names—the works! Much of this information was on third party sites that I could contact to remove my information which was a huge relief.
Students should do just this, and when they find personal information that they do not want online, help them contact the sites to remove the information. Even if the information is outdated, it should still be removed. Old contact info can often be used for verification purposes in setting up bank accounts, applying for personal, auto, or student loans, etc., as well as security questions for important online accounts.
- Search names, usernames, and nicknames using quotation marks.
- Search on various search engines (Google, Bing, etc.).
- Sign out of any browser prior to searching as results can be filtered when signed in.
- Use various browsers to perform the search (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc.) as they will yield different results.
- Go past the first page of results until the name no longer appears (five pages deep at minimum).
Enable Privacy Settings on Social Media
With 27% of teenagers using social media hourly, don’t skip this tip! Encourage your students to restrict their privacy settings appropriately across all social media platforms.
Social media privacy settings have come a long way. Largely, they are much more granular which gives the user more control. However, this means there are more settings, and it’s easy to miss one or two that could be set to public when they should be restricted. Comb through privacy settings together to ensure none are missed.
Students on social media should also:
- Regularly review their friends or followers on social media and remove anyone that should not be there.
- Regularly review their posts and remove those they would not want a parent, teacher, employer, or college official to see.
- Regularly review posts, images, and videos in which they are tagged, and remove tags as appropriate.
Don’t Disclose Personal Info to Strangers
This seems like a no brainer, but it deserves its due and bears repeating. Never disclose sensitive information online, especially to strangers. Under no circumstances! This includes where they go to school, their address, their phone number, their various social media handles, etc.
Since teenagers have been around the internet for so long, they may start to feel like a veteran. They could start to feel like they could spot a fake. Most likely not true. It doesn’t matter how trustworthy the person may seem; you simply don’t know the real person on the other side of the screen. All it takes is one conversation to let sensitive information slip into the wrong hands.
Teach Digital Best Practices
Ideally, internet safety for high school students falls into a larger lesson on digital literacy, a core tenet of digital citizenship. Digital literacy is a broad topic, but it deals with how to interact responsibly online and evaluate information online effectively. Safety falls into digital literacy as well.
While this may take more time to teach, here are a few key best practices students can follow immediately:
- Use strong alphanumeric passwords: teach about password safety and password algorithms.
- Make sure parents or guardians have access to student passwords. Students can write passwords on a piece of paper, place it in a sealed security envelope, and store in a safe, but visible, place so their parents can access passwords in case of an emergency.
- Stress the importance of logging out of online accounts by physically signing out, not just closing the browser window. This is especially important if students are sharing devices.
- Encourage students to regularly back up their files including important emails and photos.
If You See Something, Say Something
Perhaps the most important and universal tip—if you see something, say something. As digital citizens, we are responsible for ourselves and others. The internet is not just a place where your identity can be stolen. It’s also the playground for cyberbullying. Give examples of cyberbullying. If a student sees suspicious, discriminatory, or uncouth behavior, encourage them to bring their concerns to a responsible adult.
In order for this tip to work, it’s crucial to create an honest and transparent environment where students feel comfortable to bring concerns to an adult, whether that be their teacher or parent.
Even if you create the most trusting environment in the world, teenagers can still be deterred from bringing their concerns to an adult. This is why it’s so important to check in with high school students regularly about their online and social media habits. Pay attention to what they’re interested in online and who they are talking to. Limit access to certain sites to avoid potentially harmful situations.
While teenagers may be complacent to technology, it’s always important to teach internet safety for high school students. Use these five tips to remind older students how to stay safe online.
AGParts Education partners with 7,500+ innovative 1:1 school districts nationwide in Chromebook parts procurement and buyback. For more info, contact us today!