Salt Lake City, Utah (March 1, 2018) – The Utah Education and Telehealth Network, (UETN) in partnership with Connected Nation (CN), has released a follow-up report tracking technology in Utah’s public and charter schools.
Among the key findings—Utah’s students and teachers have become more connected to digital teaching and learning through increased distribution of computing devices and newer wireless networking gear. However, more work needs to be done to connect every student to the key technologies that will set each of Utah’s students on a path toward success.
“One-hundred percent of Utah’s schools participated in this project. This demonstrates that our teachers and administrators understand the importance of ensuring our students are prepared for a digital world,” said UETN Executive Director Ray Timothy. “When we did our first school technology inventory in 2015, we recognized it was necessary to continue to track our progress and identify areas that need improvement. We highly value Connected Nation’s work in facilitating this research that supports our teachers, administrators, and, ultimately, our students.”
In partnership with UETN, Connected Nation captured data from more than 1,000 schools that serve more than 665,700 students across the state. The resulting data set contains more than 100,000 new points of data on the use of technology in Utah K-12 schools, including digital curricula materials, platforms used, and the number and nature of devices used in classrooms.
“We have worked for the last 18 years to bring access to high-speed internet and its related technologies to more people and businesses across the United States,” said Tom Ferree, Chairman and CEO of Connected Nation. “Connecting more of our children and ensuring they have the same opportunities for jobs, education, and healthcare as others is, perhaps, the most important thing we can do. So, we were very excited to again be able to leverage our expertise and background in research and technology to help Utah’s schools identify how far they’ve come and what still needs to be done.”
In 2015, the state legislature passed Senate Bill 222, which established a digital teaching and learning program that paved the way for a comprehensive inventory of classroom technology and related resources across Utah’s public and charter schools. Connected Nation and UETN released that first report in January of 2016, and, later that year, House Bill 277 was signed into law. It set up the Digital Teaching and Learning Grant Program, which allocated funds toward improving digital teaching and learning technology throughout Utah’s schools.
In mid-2017, UETN started making plans for a second iteration of the school technology inventory to gauge progress. Through the report, UETN was able to learn where there is significant progress and identify where work needs to be done to connect more students:
- School districts and charter schools reported an average of 0.84 devices per students; up from 0.61 in 2015; however, 109,000 computer devices are still needed to reach the goal of having one computing device per student.
- Nearly one in five Utah schools (19%) report that mobile devices have been deployed on a 1:1 basis to their students, though only 6% allow student to take those devices home. This is up 8% from 2015 when only 11% of schools reported 1:1 deployment.
- Overwhelmingly, Google Chromebooks are the most widely used devices for student use. In 2015, 90,772 students used the devices. In 2017, that number jumped to 266,878.
- A slim majority of schools (51%) reported having wireless gear that averaged 2 years old or newer. This is up from 38% in 2015.
As part of the report’s deliverables, Connected Nation provided one-page data reports for every school district and charter school surveyed so teachers and administrators could gauge their progress compared to statewide benchmarks. To read the full report and see the one-page datasets, head to https://www.uen.org/digital-learning/.
UEN, Communications Manager
Phone number: 801-585-7271
Connected Nation, Director of Public Policy
Phone number: 248-376-4046
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About the Utah Education and Telehealth Network: UETN connects schools, higher education, libraries, and health care institutions to a robust broadband network, tools, and resources. UETN is one of the nation’s premier education and telehealth networks. For more information, please visit: uetn.org.
About Connected Nation: Our mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access, adoption, and use of high-speed internet and its related technology to all people. Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.
Connected Nation works with consumers, local community leaders, states, technology providers, and foundations to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. For more information, please visit: connectednation.org.
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