Mobile Computing

Access to Power a Limiting Factor for Classroom Device Use

A report being released this week finds that a sizable chunk of educators do not have access to enough outlets or charging stations to support the devices used in their classrooms.

According to a report that will be released publicly later this week by technology company FLI Charge, more than a third of teachers — 38 percent — said they have an inadequate number of outlets in their classrooms for the devices they use. Half have 21 or more students yet only have one to five outlets in their rooms. Almost a fifth of teachers surveyed — 19 percent — said they have no charging solution at all, while two-thirds "use a combination of charging carts/lockers or extension cords/power banks to charge devices," according to the results of the survey.

Nearly two-thirds of educators surveyed — 64 percent — said they are frustrated by issues related to access to power on a daily basis. Charging was cited as the second-largest barrier to successful implementation of 1-to-1/BYOD programs, behind funding.

"With aging school buildings, power outlets are already at a premium in most classrooms. With the addition of school wide iPad and Chromebook deployment, charging has become a challenge," said Bradley Chambers, director of information technology at Brainerd Baptist School, in a prepared statement. "Even if the devices come in 100 percent charged, they can easily burn through the battery if they are doing tasks like movie editing or video recording. As devices age, the battery gets even worse. Even if a brand new iPad can survive the day, it's possible that a two year old iPad won't make past lunch. This problem is one that frustrates teachers, IT, and maintenance alike. Adding power outlets is difficult, but it still doesn't bring charging capabilities to their desk."

Other findings from the survey included:

  • 98 percent of teachers surveyed said "a tablet or computer enhances student learning/engagement";
  • 75 percent of students have daily access to these types of devices, and 90 percent have at least weekly access;
  • 84 percent agreed that "loss of power to a tablet or laptop is disruptive to class";
  • 54 percent of educators place "little or no priority on the safety of power delivery in the classroom"; and
  • About 40 percent of educators "report being deterred from using portable electronic devices in-classroom because of limited access to power."

"It's extremely frustrating when a student either forgets to charge their device or a device loses power mid-activity," said fourth-grade teacher Emilee Murphy, also in a prepared statement. "I love having the devices available for activities and exercises, but it defeats the purpose if they're dead. When that happens, we're not only wasting school resources but, I then have to readjust the activity for the child so they can place the device back in the charging locker."

FLI Charge provides multi-device contactless charging solutions for education and other sectors.

Full results of the survey will be publicly released Wednesday. Further information can be found at

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .