Collecting inventory: Utah Education Network tracks technology in classrooms

The state continues work that provided key data to help educators better respond to COVID-19 closures

Salt Lake City, Utah (October 7, 2021) – The Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN), in partnership with Connected Nation (CN), just launched a new portal that will inventory technology within Utah’s public and charter schools. In 2015, UETN began tracking how technology is used in classrooms and the access teachers and students have to digital materials, devices, and platforms.

“As we embark on our fourth statewide inventory with Connected Nation, we are particularly mindful of how effective the first three inventories were in laying the foundation for UETN’s rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” said Ray Timothy, CEO and Executive Director of UETN. “Because we had current data, we knew what the education communities needed and where we needed to fill the gaps. We were able to shift existing resources and seek additional necessary funding.”

In 2019, Connected Nation, working with UETN, collected more than 17,000 new data points across 1,018 public schools in the state. 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% of schools have professionally designed networks, allowing for better connectivity in classrooms.

“As a result of our last inventory, our 2020 CARES funding, our 2021 ARPA request, and our annual state legislative requests, are focused directly on addressing those needs,” said Timothy, “The ability and the certainty we have of pinpointing where we stand has proven to be of greater value than we could have imagined when starting our first inventory in 2015.”

In 2020, when COVID-19 shut down the world, it became apparent how important it is to track what technology is within our schools and understand solutions for continuing education despite unexpected obstacles. It also showed how the 2019 inventory report benefited Utah schools and helped keep them connected even during a pandemic. 

“As a nonprofit, we have worked for nearly two decades to find and implement innovative solutions to expand access to broadband and its related technologies to more families and communities,” said Tom Ferree, Chairman and CEO of Connected Nation. “Connecting our schools and, ultimately, more students is a critical part of our mission. UETN is taking the necessary steps to identify ways to help all of Utah’s students, and we are excited to once again partner with them again this year.

School and district technology leaders can take part in the current inventory by going to https://techinventory.uen.org/.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Rich Finlinson                                                     
UETN, Communications Manager
Email: rfin@UETN.org
Phone number: 801-585-7271

Susan Cohen, M.Ed
UETN, Public Relations Associate
Email: scohen@UETN.org
Phone number: 801-581-7668

Lindsay Conrad
Connected Nation, Director of Public Policy
Email: lconrad@connectednation.hatfield.marketing
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.hatfield.marketing.  

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