New data illustrates how statewide technology tracking is helping Utah education leaders as pandemic continues

Latest Utah School Technology Inventory includes 88,000 new data points plus individual technology summaries for every school in Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah (February 23, 2022) – The Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) released this week the fourth iteration of its Utah School Technology Inventory. Completed in collaboration with national nonprofit Connected Nation (CN), the report provides important updates on technology in every school across Utah, which has continually proven to be critical for those working within school districts.

Click the above image to read the full report.

“We started working with Connected Nation to track technology in our schools in 2015.” said Ray Timothy, CEO and Executive Director, UETN. “The inventory, which is completed every other year, has consistently helped our schools identify areas that need improvement, as well as best practices. The January 2020 findings were released just months before the onset of the pandemic. Because Utah leaders were already taking this proactive approach to improving technology in the classroom and digital learning, our schools were better prepared to pivot in response to COVID-19 closures — something that many other schools districts across the country struggled with in 2020.”

CN’s mission is to work to close the Digital Divide. The nonprofit was again selected by UETN to develop the data collection portal and lead the inventory effort. The 2021 inventory was completed in December and includes 80,000 new data points across 1,037 public schools. It once again had a 100% participation rate among school leadership and district-level technology directors.

“We are very grateful for the UETN technology inventory,” said Terry Allen, IT Director, Morgan School District. “It has allowed us to identify assets that are being underutilized so that they can be repurposed in areas that are in need.”

“Thanks to UETN, our superintendent was able to present the inventory to our school board, which shows them how we’re doing in comparison to the state and other districts,” said Travis Terry, Technology and Assessment Director, Kane School District. “It helps when the school board is able to see that inventory and then support our initiatives to make sure that we stay on course with the state’s other districts.”

The latest data collection focused on devices, hardware and software age, teaching resources, and for the first time, at home access.

Th key findings from the latest inventory include

  • The number of devices per student is increasing. More than 888,800 computing devices are available to more than 675,500 Utah students.
    • This represents about 1.32 devices per student; up from 1.19 in 2019
  • Statewide, nearly 2 out of 5 Utah schools (39%) have deployed mobile computing devices on a 1:1 basis so that students can take devices home.
  • Google Chromebooks are still the most widely deployed device for student use.
  • Despite the increase in devices sent home with students, only 27% of Utah’s Local Education Agencies (LEAs) provide some form of remote internet access for their students.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 Utah schools (19%) say that the wireless networking gear used in the school is newer than one year old; an improvement over the 2019 inventory, when 11% indicated the same response.  
  • Wired networking gear across Utah’s K-12 schools tends to be older, with more than 2 out of 5 schools (44%) reporting that their wired hardware is four years old or older.
  • A growing number of Utah schools report that they need online tools for counseling and guidance.

“I think we continue to be successful in gathering data from 100% of Utah’s public schools because school leaders recognize that they must understand what technology they have access to, what needs improvement, and how it’s being used — whether for remote learning or in the classroom,” said Lindsay Conrad, Director, Program Development, and team lead on UETN project, CN. “We applaud the great work UETN continues to do by shining a light on the important role technology plays in the classroom. We feel that other school districts across the country can look to Utah as an example of how this kind of work directly benefits teachers and students.”

“I have seen teachers utilize the technology as part of their daily instructional practices to the point where it allows them to use differentiated instruction for students and identify those areas where they strive to be efficient,” said Ben Dalton, Superintendent, Kane School District. “It would’ve been very difficult to track that with a paper and pencil or some other method. This just shows a little bit of evidence about how important technology is in our schools.”

Click here to view the 2021 Utah School Technology Inventory Report. In addition to the statewide findings, the report includes news stories detailing the impact of technology in the classroom, details on the questions included in the technology portal, and one-page data summaries for every school across Utah (see pages 87 to 240).

Click here for the January 2020 Utah School Technology Inventory Report, which features findings from data collected in 2019.

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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: Its 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.

The national nonprofit 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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