Technology Tools: Protecting Educational Assets

Technology Tools: Protecting your Investment in Education
An Alabama technical school lost thousands of dollars worth of industrial training equipment. Officials admitted they weren’t sure exactly how much had been stolen…

Four teachers at a Texas school were accused of stealing more than $16,000 worth of school property, including mp3 players, DVD players and cameras. Officials estimated that another $6,009 worth of school property might be missing… a growing problem in asset tracking for schools .

More than ever, learning is driven by technology. As schools acquire computers, laptops, personal computing devices, smartphones and other devices, they find themselves responsible for high value fixed assets – and a correspondingly high risk of theft.  Over the last decade, state and federal governments have focused on placing computers and current technologies in school; in fact, federal agencies spend more than $300 trillion on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) investments every year.

When schools experience loss of technology – whether through misplacement or theft – it often turns out those institutions aren’t able to provide specific details on the missing assets. Schools face a real challenge in tracking equipment: knowing who is using it, making sure only authorized users take possession, and knowing where the equipment is at any given point in time.

Failing Grade in Protecting Educational Assets
Unfortunately, too many schools use rudimentary spreadsheets that are not updated regularly – maybe once or twice a school year.  While other schools use fixed asset tracking systems which include only budget requests and purchase orders; other systems consist of only purchase records. As a result of poor (or non-existent) asset management procedures, it can be a significant challenge for schools to identify when items are broken, lost, replaced, or stolen.

Additionally, if schools receive either state or federal funding, they are required to account for very specific asset details in order to maintain funding compliance.  Continuing to use an outdated method for tracking asset information, places schools at significant risk of losing much needed financing.  Implementing an automated system helps schools account for the following details:

  • What equipment is on the premises?
  • Where is the equipment located?
  • What funds were used to purchase specific equipment?
  • Has the equipment been properly maintained?
  • How does current inventory compare with expected/budgeted inventory?
  • Who is using the equipment?


Using Technology to Track Technology
Barcode technology has been used successfully to track asset details – current location, movement, maintenance, etc. – for years. The same basic technology found in retail stores is used to label valuable property, create borrower ID cards, control who “checks-out” equipment, track when and where the equipment is used, and to record maintenance information. These tracking applications are not limited to technology assets (laptops, computers, tablets, cameras), but can include athletic gear, books, school vehicles, maintenance equipment, files, and more. If an object can hold a barcode label, an asset tracking solution can track it.

Wasp Barcode Technologies offers simple-to-use yet sophisticated asset management systems, which include a barcode printer, barcode scanners, and a software package, MobileAsset.EDU, for tracking fixed assets and creating reports. Using WASP solutions, schools can:

  • Create and manage an inventory of all equipment
  • Create borrower ID cards to track equipment users
  • Know who has “checked-out” school property
  • Create usage reports for specific items and categories (ie. athletic gear, laptops, etc.)
  • Track overdue items
  • Alert when school property is missing
  • Track funding source details
  • Audit assets by funding source or by asset location


MobileAsset.EDU Makes the Grade
Wasp’s newest asset solution, MobileAsset.EDU, is ready-to-use solution that does not require time-consuming implementation.  In fact, a school can begin managing their assets on Day 1. The program allows you to design the dashboard to display important notifications, charts & graphs, or lists of checked-out items, upcoming maintenance, and much more.  Using a mobile computer – with an integrated barcode scanner – allows you to track your assets without being tied to a PC.  The new sync anywhere feature means your data will be updated anywhere you have a network or cellular connection.  If you don’t have a mobile computer but would like the flexibility of using MobileAsset.EDU on-the-go, use your own existing device by purchasing a device license for your iPhone, iPad, or Android.

Investing in an asset tracking solution, within your educational institution, means you’re on your way to protecting the financial investment made to purchase the technology tools your teachers and students use every day to learn about and interact with the world around them.


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Paul Trujillo

Paul Trujillo

Paul Trujillo is a Product Marketing Manager at Informatics specializing in Inventory Warehouse Management and Supply Chain product lines. His nearly 15 years of experience has put him at the forefront of industry technology and developing trends.