The Benefits of Serviceable Keyboards for Schools

edited August 2023 in Education

Not long after the first keyboard was invented, it probably needed fixing. We’ve all had issues with keyboards before. Spilled sodas during intense gaming sessions, food particles from a quick bite to eat during homework, and the general wear and tear of pounding keys every day. There’s no shortage of mishaps surrounding a keyboard, especially in the hands of children and teenagers. School computers are subject to more wear and tear compared to personal computers due to their high usage and mishandling by students. It hasn’t always been easy to get keyboards serviced. To help combat this along with other issues, companies like Acer have created serviceable keyboards.

What are serviceable keyboards?

A serviceable keyboard is an innovative feature found in certain Acer laptops and is specifically designed for swift and straightforward replacement. The unique design of these keyboards allows for the entire unit to be replaced by simply loosening one or two screws, bypassing the need for more complex or time-consuming methods typically associated with keyboard replacement. These keyboards offer a practical solution to common issues such as accidental key removal or other potential keyboard damage, effectively enhancing the durability and lifespan of the laptop.

Serviceable keyboards are found in several versions of Acer’s 2023 education devices such as:

The impact of serviceable keyboards

In educational settings, serviceable keyboards can have a profound impact. School environments are often bustling and prone to accidental damage caused by grade school and teenage students. With serviceable keyboards, instead of sending a damaged laptop for repairs or having to purchase a new one, educators or IT staff can efficiently substitute the keyboard with a spare in just a few minutes. This not only saves time and financial resources but also ensures minimal disruption to students' learning.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly heightened awareness of hygiene practices in all industries, including education. Schools have become more sensitive about maintaining cleanliness and proper hygienic practices, especially as it relates to shared devices. With multiple students often sharing the same device at school, regular replacement of keyboards can help maintain cleanliness and prevent the spread of germs. This results in a healthier learning environment for students, contributing positively to their overall well-being and productivity.

What do they do for e-waste?

Serviceable keyboards contribute to the reduction of electronic waste. They do this primarily by extending the lifespan of the laptop. When a keyboard on the school laptop malfunctions, instead of discarding the entire laptop, the serviceable keyboard can be replaced. This leads to fewer laptops being thrown away, thus decreasing electronic waste and extending the life of the laptop.

In addition, this modular design encourages a more sustainable approach to the use of electronic devices. By promoting the repair and reuse of laptops through the easy replacement of keyboards, it discourages the often prevalent ‘throwaway’ culture associated with electronic devices. This not only conserves resources but also helps teach students the importance of the right to repair.

Serviceable keyboards for students

But why the need for serviceable keyboards? What happens to them? Is the problem really that serious? Well, serviceable keyboards really make a difference for students. It's important to take some precautions to prevent keyboard damage. Even with a serviceable keyboard in your arsenal, it’s best to maintain some level of care and preventative measures. Options like using a keyboard cover, cleaning the keyboard regularly to remove any dirt or debris, avoiding eating and drinking around the keyboard, and handling it with care are important. Otherwise, you run the risk of encountering the following types of damage:

Spills: Accidentally spilling liquids like water, coffee, or soda on the keyboard can cause some serious harm to electronic components. This can cause downright mechanical and electrical failure or become a sticky nuisance.

Dirt and debris: Students may eat at their keyboards, and crumbs and debris can accumulate inside over time. This may lead to keys that get stuck or stop responding altogether.

Wear and tear: Regular use of the keyboard can cause small damages that accumulate over time. Keycaps, switches, and cables can start to wear out over time, no matter how hard your use is. This may cause keys to become unresponsive and other issues.

Physical damage: If you drop your laptop or handle it without care, damage can happen to your electronic components, such as the keyboard. A damaged computer can greatly inhibit a student's ability to perform school tasks and the damaged laptop may take a long time to fix, which further hampers the student’s educational progress.

What issues can this cause?

The issues that serviceable keyboards aim to solve go deeper than a simple nuisance. There are serious consequences when tools like keyboards stop working correctly. What kind of downstream issues can this cause?

If your device has a broken keyboard or screen, it can interfere with your ability to learn and get stuff done. It's hard for anyone to focus on what they're doing when they're struggling to type or see what's on the screen. This can also slow you down and make it harder to get things done. Decreased productivity adds unnecessary stress to employees’ or students’ lives. How might that look? Take a student, for example. If a student is doing online classes and their device is acting up, they might miss important lectures and discussions. Students falling behind in class due to electronic failure is dangerous. 

Additionally, this can interfere with access to important resources. Many schools and workplaces offer online resources like e-books, video lectures, and library databases. People might not be able to access these things if their device is faulty due to broken keys. By having something as simple as a damaged keyboard, the consequences can be grave. 

Serviceable keyboards offer a range of benefits, such as being durable, cost-effective, and eco-friendly, while also improving productivity and learning outcomes. By investing in serviceable keyboards, schools can have and provide the tools needed for students and faculty to succeed. Here are some of the key benefits of serviceable keyboards:

Ease of replacement: Serviceable keyboards allow for convenient and efficient replacement, thereby minimizing disruptions and enhancing the learning experience. The swift replacement process ensures that any keyboard-related issues can be addressed promptly, reducing downtime and supporting uninterrupted learning for students.

Improved hygiene: Serviceable keyboards can significantly contribute to maintaining cleanliness in schools. Regular keyboard replacement, facilitated by the serviceable design, can help curb the spread of germs, especially when devices are used by multiple individuals, thus promoting a healthier learning environment.

Reduced costs of ownership: Serviceable keyboards offer a cost-effective solution for schools, as keyboard malfunctions or damages can be addressed by simply replacing the keyboard instead of the entire laptop. This not only saves on potential repair costs or the expense of buying a new laptop but also reduces the time and resources spent on sending devices away for professional repair, leading to significant cost savings.

Acer’s serviceable keyboards

The education-focused Acer laptops have keyboards that use modular design to facilitate the straightforward replacement of distinct parts. These serviceable keyboards demonstrate Acer's commitment to innovation and education. By offering a convenient and durable solution for keyboard replacement, Acer helps students and teachers enjoy a smooth and productive learning experience with their laptops. If your school or organization is looking for the aforementioned benefits, consider serviceable keyboards.

Visit the Acer for Education page or the Rugged Education page for more information. You can also contact an Acer Representative for more information.

Patrick Yu is a Senior Project Manager at Level Interactive and has 8 years of experience writing business, legal, lifestyle, gaming, and technology articles. He is a significant contributor to Acer Corner and is currently based in Taipei, Taiwan.


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