Technology is awesome and it is everywhere. The more the better the saying goes. But that saying and desire for more and more technology in our classrooms has led to one giant slip, trip, and fall hazard.
Let’s face we are short-sighted creatures. Our love of technology has given us tunnel vision and on the periphery is the unintended consequences. Poor battery performance and power-sucking programs mean that we need constant power in the form of cables, cables, and more cables.
While we have planned and budgeted for more tech in the classroom, we have failed to plan, and budget for one of the most important things tech needs to operate – power. Our power sources are limited. Sometimes, at least here in California, limited to the 1920’s and 30’s and 40’s. Our buildings are old. Our power outlets are few. And that creates big challenges as it relates to slip, trip and fall safety. We band-aid the problem with cord ducts, duct tape, area rugs, and daisy-chained power strips. Unfotunately, these cord ducts, rugs, and other contraptions are not properly secured, or they are run in the most obtrusive way possible. Many of which are fire hazards. What we need is to think ahead.
Thinking ahead – what’s next
For years I have recommended that every computer installed in a classroom also have a budget line item tacked on for security locks and cables. Now it is time to do the same for smart boards, projectors, and other modern conveniences. Risk managers and facilities managers should be working together to ensure that there are appropriate levels of electrical outlets; floor outlets; overhead drops and the like to power all these pieces of equipment. Budget, plan, budget some more. But for the love of the safety, please put in some electrical outlets. As part of a science lab standard I built for a major school district here in California, I added two (2) electrical outlets per student workstation. Why, because everything is powered – laptops, microscopes, etc. We need the power to learn, and we need proper power to stay safe.