“Care and Feeding” of Lenovo ThinkPad X131 Laptops

This guide provides some information about the district’s Lenovo ThinkPad X131 laptops and some tips on how to take care of them. It’s extremely important that ALL members of the school community accept shared responsibility to keep the laptops in good working order to ensure that they will be available for use by students and staff. As with all of our resources, we need to make these laptops last as long as we can.

Why Was this Specific Model of Laptop Chosen?

Because these laptops will be used primarily by elementary students in their classrooms, we needed to find a model of laptop that met the following criteria:
  • The laptop needed to be rugged enough to hold up to daily use and handling by elementary students.
  • The laptop needed to have good enough battery life to last for the majority of a school day.
  • The laptop needed to start up and shutdown fast enough so that students and teachers were not constantly waiting to get started.
  • The laptop needed to have all of the necessary ports to connect to the various TV's and ELMO document cameras in place in elementary classrooms.
  • The laptop needed to be able to integrate with our existing network infrastructure, as well as support future network upgrades.
  • The laptop needed to be affordable in order to purchase enough to support a large number of students across all four elementary schools.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X131 laptop was selected because it met all of these criteria at the time the district went out to bid. The ThinkPad X131 was designed specifically for education, so it's rugged and durable. The configuration we selected has a solid state drive (SSD), rather than a more traditional spinning hard drive, so it boots up faster and gets better battery life. The SSD is also much more durable that a traditional hard drive.

Tips on Taking Care of the Laptops

Removing and Returning the Laptops from/to the Storage Cart

Only adults or responsible older students should remove laptops from the storage carts or return them to the storage carts. This will help prevent accidental damage to the laptops and ensure that they are properly plugged in and charged. Each laptop is numbered and should be returned to it's corresponding slot in the storage cart!
Laptop labels
Laptop cart slots
Cart power cords
Cart power switch

Checking Laptops for Damage or Vandalism

As laptops are returned to the storage carts, an adult should ALWAYS check the laptops for signs of damage or vandalism. In the past, some students have vandalized district laptops by stealing keys from the keyboard, removing inventory labels, writing on the laptop, or scratching the laptop.

One successful strategy is to assign students the same number laptop each time they use them to make it easier to track any issues and identify students who are improperly using them. This would also make it easier to identify students that are demonstrating proper use and care of the laptops and providing a positive reinforcement. 

Charging the Laptops

  • Make sure to fully charge the laptops each night by returning them to the storage cart and plugging in the power cord. The power port is yellow and can be found on the right side of the laptop

  • The laptop storage carts charge the laptops by rotating through small groups (it would take too much power to charge all of the laptops at the same time). The cart uses an intelligent timer to rotate charging to each laptop. Make sure to take this into account when planning to charge laptops!

Properly Shutting Down the Laptops

  • When finished using a laptop, shut it down properly by clicking on the “Start” button and clicking on “Shut Down”.
    • NEVER just close the lid of the laptop! Otherwise, the laptop will go into “sleep mode” (using power) and you will still be logged in.
      Shut down button

  • When shutting down a laptop, wait until the power indicator light goes out BEFORE closing the lid. This will ensure that the laptop is actually powered off and not in sleep mode. It may take a few seconds for the power indicator light to go out after the screen turns off.
    Power indicator light

Tips on Using the Laptops

The Trackpad and Using an External Mouse

  • The laptop’s “mouse” buttons are built-into the trackpad itself. To click the mouse, press the lower left corner of the trackpad. To right-click, press the lower right corner of the trackpad.
  • You can also simply "tap" with one finger in the middle of the trackpad to left-click.
    • Most Lenovo laptops also come with a “Trackpoint” pointing stick and corresponding buttons above the trackpad. You can certainly use these if you wish, but many people find them a little tricky to get used to.

  • If you want to use an external mouse with a laptop, you can plug-in any USB mouse into one of the two USB ports on the left side of the laptop or the single USB port on the right side.

Using Headphones or External Speakers

You will find a headphone jack on the left side of the laptop. You can also use this jack to connect to a set of external speakers.

Connecting to a Projector, TV, or ELMO (Document camera)

  • You will find a VGA connector on the left side of the laptop that will allow it to be connected to a projector or an older ELMO (document camera).
  • You will find an HDMI connector on the right side of the laptop that will allow it to be connected to a TV or a newer ELMO (document camera).