K-12 district here. We have 8 schools with 43 notebook carts (both 15 and 30 unit models) throughout the district. Buildings have [or will soon] eschewed traditional computers labs in favor of notebook carts.
A couple things we've discovered over the years using these carts:
1. Standardize your notebook model.
One of our earliest issues was the varying location of power/network ports on the notebooks. Each vendor [in a seemingly random fashion] selects different locations for these ports. Having both power and network on the same edge was an important requirement for us.
2. Wire carts for power and network.
This helps greatly when imaging the laptops and deploying software. We also have the carts "parked" at the end-of-day. We can WOL the laptops at night and apply updates, etc. For year end re-imaging of staff/teacher notebooks, the carts serve as a drop-box. No need hand collect the notebooks.
3. Invest in an integrated DC charging system for the carts.
Our cart vendor builds custom PSUs with integrated charging units. These units feature model-specific adapter-ends but can be reconfigured without replacing the PSU. We do not need to "donate" the AC adapter for each laptop to the cart. You can store the unused AC adapters in a central location (Library, Office) where users can self-serve.
4. Pony-up for a battery replacement warranty
Regardless of any end-user education, staff/students are going to abuse the notebooks when it comes to charging cycles. Some of our older deployments had batteries failing after only 1.5 years. If you're buying a sufficient number of notebooks from a vendor you are in a great position to negotiate a deal on battery warranty. Also, look for bay-battery options if you do not require optical drives.
Additional stream-of-conscious notes...
- Skip the zip/twist-ties unless you enjoy using dikes.
Velcro Hook-and-loop wraps can save lots of time when re-wiring.
- Devise additional physical security. Every model cart we've used has useless built-in door locks.
- Protective [non-conductive!!!] enclosures for on-board wireless APs. We had a Cisco AP destroyed by someone stuffing it full of paper clips, staples and other debris.
- Publish some picture-heavy/word-light Ikea-style docs for user. How to charge cart, connect to network, access printer (if one is on cart), general connectivity troubleshooting.