Gallaudet Technology Services (GTS) is changing how it distributes technology tools to its community at Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center. Each community member will receive a device, such as an iPad, laptop, or smartphone (determined as the best fit for their roles on campus), that they can use for their academic studies or work-related activities. The backpack kits will replace most desktop and laptop computers in offices, classrooms, meeting rooms, etc. 

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This concept has been in the works for a while and has several benefits. Pre-pandemic, there were more computers on campus than students and staff. Computers in classrooms, for example, were only used for a few hours per day but still required labor-intensive management of updates. This approach will reduce the excess equipment. 

Another significant benefit is to ensure that everyone has the same standard of access to technology. The inequities in technology access became glaringly evident as we switched to remote learning at the start of the COVID pandemic. This change also makes our workforce more agile and better able to transition between on-campus and remote work, teaching, and learning. 

In 2020, Gallaudet partnered with Apple to provide students and faculty with iPad Pro devices during the 2020-2021 academic year. This summer, Gallaudet Technology Services (GTS) has been expanding the distribution to include staff and other employees.  

The first phase included giving devices to new students and new employees. This phase is complete. The next step is for current students to trade in their older iPads for the latest iPad Pros or MacBook Pro laptops. Students were able to choose which device they preferred as part of registration this year. Students will keep their devices as long as they remain enrolled at Gallaudet. Graduating students will have the option of purchasing their devices at a prorated fee. Students will receive email notifications when their device is available for pick-up. 

More information about student devices, guidelines, and responsibilities 

Clerc Center students also have access to iPad devices for educational use. Their agreements vary based on grade level and other school policies. 

Faculty and staff distribution will begin with employees who have older devices slated for replacement. Employees will receive email notifications when they can trade in their old equipment.  

GTS is now responsible for the lifecycle of the backpack equipment. As the equipment ages out of warranty coverage, employees will receive updated devices.  

Employees will receive standard equipment based on the type of work they do. There are three tiers. 

  • Tier 1: Full-time faculty, teachers, or staff are eligible for the Standard Kit 
  • Tier 2: Roaming employees are eligible for iPad/mobile devices only. 
  • Tier 3: Temporary/adjuncts are eligible for used devices/kits (less than three years old and in good working condition). 

More information about employee equipment, guidelines, and responsibilities

Note: Due to pandemic demand and shortages, some of the equipment included in the kits may not be available immediately. 

Older computers and other equipment, still in good working order, will be given to adjunct faculty and other temporary employees or used as loaner equipment as needed. GTS has partnered with a third-party company that will buy its surplus used stock. They will recycle and responsibly dispose of the equipment. The proceeds from this arrangement will help to offset the start-up expenses of the Backpack effort.

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