Lessons Learned: How Utah’s Public Schools are Tracking and Improving Technology in the Classroom

“A great model for state school systems to replicate”

Click on the above image to see the full report.

Salt Lake City, Utah (March 13, 2020) – Connected Nation (CN) recently partnered with Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) for the third iteration of the statewide Utah School Technology Inventory. The national nonprofit has worked in partnership the Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) since 2015 to track how technology is used in Utah’s school districts and charter schools and the access teachers and students have to digital materials, devices, and platforms.

“Our mission is laser-focused on closing the Digital Divide across the nation. This is, perhaps, most acutely felt when it comes to ensuring our children have the tools they need in the classroom to learn and grow,” said Tom Ferree, Chairman and CEO, CN. “UETN has long recognized that every student must have the opportunity to learn how to leverage and use technology for careers, education, healthcare, and more—and the organization has been committed to identifying trends and improving digital learning through a technology inventory. The good news is UETN’s model of tracking a statewide school technology inventory can be replicated by other states that desire to keep a finger on the pulse of technology in classrooms.”

UETN, in partnership with CN, collected more than 17,000 new data points across 1,018 public schools to complete the most recent inventory.  The final report includes an overview of the school system across Utah as well as a summary page for every school district and charter school in the state.  You can review the full report by heading here https://www.uen.org/digital-learning/ or by heading to CN’s website here.

“The data, focused on digital teaching and learning resources, inform decision-makers of the current state of instructional technology in the classroom and helps identify future teacher and student needs,” said Ray Timothy, CEO, UETN. “Furthermore, this report allows Utah’s leaders to track changes in the technologies required for teaching and learning and to proactively recognize trends or outstanding issues that affect teachers and students.”

The inventory found that Utah’s educational institutions have added nearly 200,000 new computing devices for students—with a significant increase regarding the use of Google Chromebooks.  It also found that 77 percent of schools have professionally designed networks, allowing for better connectivity in classrooms.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • Three out of 10 Utah schools (30%) have established some type of 1:1 mobile device program, up from 19% in 2017 and only 11% in 2015.
  • All Utah LEAs report that they use some type of Student Information System (SIS) tools to help track attendance, grades and other important statistics, with Aspire being the most commonly used platform.
  • Nearly nine out of 10 schools statewide (87%) have obtained at least some digital textbook licenses (or they use licenses acquired by their district).

“Our commitment to enhance the digital teaching and learning environment for our students remains strong,” Timothy said. “Continuance of this inventory is of importance as it supports data-driven policy decisions and helps keep Utah at the forefront of the nation in providing quality educational experiences for its students. Connected Nation has shown it can help us move the needle forward by facilitating this research and working to support our teachers and administrators.”

The 2020 report is the third iteration of the technology inventory—each time achieving 100 percent participation from school districts and charter schools across Utah.  This highlights that administrators and teachers understand the importance of this effort.

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Media Contacts
Jessica Denson
Connected Nation, Communications Director
Email: jdenson@connectednation.hatfield.marketing
Phone number: 502-341-2024

Rich Finlinson
UETN, Associate Director of Communications
Email: rfin@uen.org
Phone number: 801-585-7271

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.hatfield.marketing.  

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