Ed Tech Trends
Utah’s new school technology list shows most commonly used tools and software solutions to meet unmet needs
The latest Utah School Technology report, just released by the Utah Education and Telehealth Network, shows that the number of devices deployed in schools across the state has increased by 31% since the pandemic, and 65% of all computer devices for students in Utah is now a Chromebook. , reports UETN.
The report, completed in collaboration with the nonprofit Connected Nation, provides an insight into the hardware used in each Utah school, as well as the types of curricula, LMS and SIS software used, dissatisfied technologies in classrooms identified by schools, technologies connections used and unmet connection needs; and device management and security solutions used nationwide.
The 2021 Utah School Technology Survey included approximately 55 questions asked by 153 Utah local educational institutions, including school districts and charter schools, representing a total of 1,037 public schools across the state serving more than 675,500 students this academic year .
The 2021 inventory was completed in December and includes 80,000 new data points. The inventory survey was completed 100% by Utah school leaders and district-level technology directors; questions focused on devices, the age of hardware and software, training resources and, for the first time, home access, a UETN press release said.
“We started working with Connected Nation to track technology in our schools in 2015,” said UETN Director-General Ray Timothy. “The inventory, which is conducted every other year, constantly helps our schools identify areas that need improvement as well as best practices. The results of January 2020 were published a few months before the pandemic. Because Utah leaders have already taken this proactive approach to improving technology in the classroom, our schools have been better prepared to turn in response to the closure of COVID-19 – something many other school districts across the country have struggled with in 2020. ”
The following are the main findings in the areas covered by the inventory:
Device overview: students and faculty
- The number of computing devices available to students has increased by 31% to more than 888,800, which is about 1.32 devices per student, compared to 1.19 in 2019.
- Across the state, 2 of Utah’s 5 schools (39%) have deployed mobile computing devices in a 1: 1 ratio so students can take devices home – a sharp increase from 2019, when only 6% of schools allowed this option.
- Google Chromebooks remain the most common device for students: in 2021, 577,690 were deployed, which is 37% more than the 421,238 Chromebooks deployed in 2019. The second most common type of student device used in 2021 was iOS tablets with 100 deployed17 a decrease of about 2,500 since the last survey in 2019.
- Teachers and administrators continued to receive desktops more often than laptops, but the deployment of mobile devices for teachers and administrators predictably increased during the pandemic: the number of Chromebooks used by Utah educators rose more than 400% to 22,052; IOS tablets rose 12% to 23,569; Windows-based laptops jumped 27% to a total of 16,712; and Mac laptops rose 13% to 17,754.
- While more than half of schools (56%) say their teachers receive adequate training and professional development to integrate mobile learning devices into classroom pedagogy, 44% say no. This is only a small improvement over 2019, when 51% of schools reported proper professional development and training.
Access to student technology
- Across the state, nearly 19 of every 20 schools (94%) say they provide email accounts for use by their students.
- More than 2 out of 3 schools (68%) report that at least some of their students do not have proper internet at home.
- On average, 8% of Utah students do not have proper home access, which is more than 55,000 students, and the LEA reports that the barrier № 1 for home adoption is accessibility.
- Despite the increase in the number of devices sent home with students, only 27% of Utah’s local education agencies (LEAs) provide their students with some form of remote Internet access.
- The largest proportion of LEAs that provide remote Internet access do so by distributing mobile Wi-Fi hotspots to students in need, offering them a 5G or LTE Internet connection through a commercial cellular operator. Other methods include providing services through a private LTE connection (or other fixed wireless technology), through access points installed on buses that run across the community, or through purchasing subscriptions from local providers.
WiFi networks and connectivity
- 1 in 5 Utah schools (19%) say the wireless networking equipment used at the school is the newest of the year; an improvement over the 2019 inventory, when 11% showed the same response.
- Standards for Wi-Fi services in access points deployed by Utah schools continue to improve. Only 13% of schools report relying on older, slower technologies such as 802.11b or other outdated Wi-Fi standards, while more than half of schools (56%) say they use much faster 802.11ax (Wi). -Fi 6) technology.
- Almost 3 out of 5 schools (59%) share a wireless controller environment with other schools. Another 21% use cloud controllers, compared to 15% who use on-site controllers at the school.
- Most schools (58%) have Wi-Fi networks developed by their own experts. This is a small increase compared to 2019. Overall, only 17% of schools said their Wi-Fi networks were not professionally designed, which is slightly less than in 2019.
- Wired network equipment in Utah’s K-12 schools tends to be older: more than 2 out of 5 schools (44%) report that their wired equipment is four years old and older.
- The largest proportion of Utah schools still rely on older Cat 5 or Cat 5e Ethernet cable technologies. Only 3% report using state-of-the-art Cat 6a wiring technology, despite new cables that allow faster transmission over long distances.
- Just over 9 of the 10 Ethernet switch ports used in Utah schools (91.1%) provide 1 gigabit series speeds per second. The number of schools reporting ports that provide speeds of 10 Gbps has risen to 5.6%.