“The goal is 1:1, where every student has his or her own devise,” explained district technology director Josh Decker. “And the plan will provide a framework to guide the district in making technology decisions.”
The plan is still in the developmental stage and the process will take several years to implement, according to district business manager Clayton Holt.
Five short-term goals are part of the draft plan, including three that will be reached in the next year.
They include identifying curriculum resources, creating a budget assessment, and developing measures to guide the decision-making process.
Two other short-term goals, to be completed in the next two years, are to upgrade all of the schools in the district to full wireless capacity and to complete the current 1:2 initiative.
Decker explained that six of the 12 schools in the district currently have full wireless capacity. The 1:2 initiative is to provide one computer for every two students.
Several schools already have the 1:1 ratio, but the computers are spread across classrooms and computer labs.
The 1:1 initiative would provide a specific portable computer for each student. As this is implemented, the large number of desktop computers in many classrooms and labs will disappear.
With the limited lifetime of computers, a new plan could be implemented across the district in a relatively short time. However, it will need to be carefully managed. Holt said, “It will definitely be disruptive to implement the technology.”
The district technology department currently has an $825,000 annual budget, which includes computer hardware, software and training. Over the past ten years, the total investment in technology infrastructure is several million dollars.
The district will start with a 1:1 initiative at Navajo Mountain High School this fall. Each student will be given an HP laptop computer with a four-year warranty. The computers will stay at school.
Superintendent Douglas Wright explains that Navajo Mountain makes sense for the pilot test because there is already a high ratio of computers in the school, and the new principal, Gary Rock, has excellent technology skills.
“It is a small enough environment, with a small enough student base, that we think we will be successful,” said Decker. “The small pilot program will help us develop experience and expertise.”
Decker said it is clear that students are already bringing devices to school because lots of iPods, Smartphones, and laptops are accessing the school wireless networks.
Several years ago, there was a successful pilot program using iPods in the classrooms at Monument Valley High School.
A teacher in Montezuma Creek has also implemented successful educational programs using wireless technology.
In other matters at the July 16 board meeting, the board reviewed capital projects at a number of schools in the district.
Holt reports that construction of Monticello Elementary School is on schedule. Students will have one more year in the existing building before the new school opens in August, 2014.
The teacher housing apartments adjacent to Monument Valley High School are being remodeled in a project that will be complete before school starts. In addition, two new homes will be constructed for teacher housing near the school.
A project for a new concession stand at Whitehorse High School will be ready for bid in coming weeks, with construction work scheduled for the fall and winter months.
A portable building at the Lyman Middle School will be eliminated and the area remodeled for student use during lunch and recess breaks. In addition, a computer lab will be added to the school library.
Locker rooms will be remodeled at San Juan High School beginning next summer.
The board will schedule a future meeting to readdress the long term capital projects plan. Once current projects are complete, the district will have spent more than $30 million in recent years on capital projects.