Saline High School in Saline, Mich. is the first public school in the U.S. to utilize a wireless charging beta site where students can charge their mobile devices at school using Qi – the global standard for wireless power, developed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC).
The wireless charging pilot program supports the schools new Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program, which encourages students to bring their own personal device from home, or borrow one from the school. Saline High School partnered with the Saline Verizon Wireless Zone – a premium retailer of mobile technology – and Leggett & Platt to ensure that the proper infrastructure is in place to support BYOD.
“With the ability to do things like immediately access their curriculum or look up an unfamiliar word in just a few seconds, our students are much more interested in their academic content,” says Heather Kellstrom, Director of Instructional Technology at Saline Area Schools. “It’s fun for us to see the students so excited and engaged in the classroom.”
In December 2012, the school kicked off “Phase 1” of the program, beginning with the process of integrating and installing 50-60 Qi wireless charging stations in tables and desks in the library. The school is halfway done with the installations. The technology is embedded into the surface of the tables using Leggett & Platt Helios wireless power technology, which is Qi-compliant.
Backed by more than 130 well-known companies, Qi cuts the last remaining cord in consumer electronics - the charging cord. Any Qi-certified device wirelessly charges using any Qi-compatible charger, regardless of brand or manufacturer. Qi has more than 135 products in the market and is the only wireless power solution directly integrated into flagship smartphones including the HTC Droid DNA, HTC 8X, Google Nexus 4, LG Spectrum, and the Nokia Lumia 920.
The project has been up and running for over a month and has had great success, enabling students to charge their Qi-compatible phone or tablet by simply placing it on the table without the burden of cables. Students who don’t have a Qi-compatible devices may check out a PowerKiss wireless charging ring from the library, which plugs into the device’s power accessory port and makes it Qi-enabled.
The BYOD program at Saline High School is a forward-thinking concept, moving away from the traditional classroom setup towards a 21st century, technology-integrated learning experience that fosters communication, collaboration, and creation.
Kim Birkle, Community Relations at Verizon Wireless Zone of Saline, and Debbie Peterson, owner of the Saline Verizon Wireless Zone, have plans to continue their partnership with Leggett & Platt to roll out “Phase 2,” which would make Qi wireless charging ‘hotspots’ ubiquitous and embedded into more locations throughout the school.
“The initial response to the wireless charging program has been fabulous, sparking some interest among the community to integrate Qi into public places throughout the town,” says LeRoy Johnson of Leggett & Platt.