As documented elsewhere on this site (when discussing the first few years of implementation and iPad insurance), iPads break a lot. When you have 300+ devices being handled by hundreds of kids, it is inevitable. When we first passed out the iPads, the first one broke in under an hour. It just happens.
Our first year, we provided a mid-range case to students. They just ended up breaking the cases AND the iPads. The second year, we let them choose their own cases. They just ended up buying cases that looked cool or cute, and then they proceeded to break the iPads again.
So for Year 3, we are getting serious. Parents will be required to purchase one of several pre-approved iPad cases for their children to use all year. The cases are more expensive than we’d like, but they will be cheaper than the dozens of repairs we’ve had to do each year. Furthemore, our tech guy simply cannot waste any more time dealing with cracked screens. He has other stuff to worry about.
There are hundreds of possible iPad cases and millions of user reviews for them on the internet, so I won’t waste your time with that. Instead, let’s cut to the chase. Here are the options we will be allowing students to use next school year:
- Lifeproof ($129 for latest model; can be found cheaper on Amazon or eBay)
- Otterbox Defender (around $100 depending on model)
- Griffin Survivor (around $80 depending on model)
- Gumdrop Drop Tech ($60)
- Gform Extreme (around $90 depending on the model)
And for parents that cannot afford those higher-end models, we will also accept these three:
- Aerb X Armor (can be found for less than $50)
- HDE Shock Proof Case (around $30)
- Cellular360 (can be found for less than $40)
While some of these prices might be steep, you have to realize that at our school we charge parents $50 each time the screen is damaged and some kid were breaking their screens four or five times a year. For parents with clumsy kids, one of these cases would be a very wise investment.
Your school might not have families that can afford to buy their own cases. If that is true, I still strongly recommend that the school ponies up the money to buy these cases for their iPads. It will be a lot of money up front but it WILL save you money in the long run (especially if your 1-to-1 program allows students to take iPads home with them).
Do not underestimate the value of a rock-solid iPad case. It will save your school money and it will save your tech department a lot of time and stress. It is a critical investment.
Feel free to leave additional iPad case suggestions in the comments.