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 the classroom and the access teachers and students have to digital materials, devices, and platforms.
“Last year, following our second statewide inventory, we learned the number of classrooms connected through digital teaching and learning had risen thanks to increased distribution of computer devices and newer wireless gear,” said Ray Timothy, CEO, UETN. “However, we also found that more work was needed to connect every student to key technologies that will prepare them for an increasingly digital world. This inventory can help us identify gaps and point to areas where we’re seeing improvements—providing opportunities to learn from our successes.”
In 2018, Connected Nation, working with UETN, captured data from more than 1,000 schools that serve more than 665,000 students across the state. The resulting data set contained 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 understand it’s important to continue to track our progress,” said Timothy. “Connected Nation has shown us it can help facilitate this research and support our teachers and administrators. We have had 100 percent participation in the past two statewide technology inventories—proving that Utah’s school leaders understand how important it is for us to identify where we are doing well and what we must do to better serve our students.”
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. CN and UETN released that first report in January of 2016.
“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. Children must have the opportunity to learn how to leverage technology for careers, education, healthcare, and more. UETN is taking proactive steps to identify ways to help all of Utah’s students, and we’re excited to once again partner with them for this important work.”
Following the first report, the Digital Teaching and Learning Grant Program was established by state leaders. It allocates funds toward improving digital teaching and learning technology throughout Utah’s schools. The data gathered helps track how well the program and other efforts are working.
School administrators and teachers can take part in the current inventory by going to https://techinventory.uen.org/