iPad Mini

With the addition of 250 new devices for the next school year, the Union School District will average 2.6 students per device.

Superintendent Steve Bryant updated the board with a device summary at the April board meeting.

This year, the district has 3.32 students per device. It uses a multiple device platform, which Bryant said is an advantage for students because they learn to use various types of devices, including Chromebooks, Lenovos and iPad Minis.

Students also may bring their own device no matter the brand.

The device breakdown per building is as follows: Beaufort Elementary, 2.15 students per device, 90 available for check out and use; Central Elementary, 3.28 students per device, 180 to check out and use; Clark Vitt, 3.11 students per device, 150 to check out and use; middle school, 1.68 students per device, 210 to check out and use; and high school, 2.79 students per device, 210 to check out and use.

For the 2014-15 school year, the district has purchased seven Dell Chromebook carts, each with 30 devices, for a total of 210 Chromebooks. The district also purchased an additional 50 iPad Minis to be used at Beaufort and Central Elementary schools.

If funds are available, the district also is looking at purchasing an additional 90 Chromebooks before the end of the school year, which would lower the number of students per device to 2.31 students per device in 2014-15.

Bryant said he is pleased that teachers are embracing using technology as an instructional tool in their classrooms.

The goal, he said, is to have a 1:1 ration of devices per student in the district.

“About four years ago we started building infrastructure,” Bryant said. “We knew the use of technology was going to continue to increase.”

Bryant said the district focused on the addition of fiber optic lines and its capacity with the server.

It also is looking at the feasibility of purchasing a laptop for all 211 certified staff to use in their classrooms.

A survey is being conducted to see how many kids have Internet access at home, which Bryant said is a “critical piece of information moving forward” with technology in classrooms.

Learning how students are able to access the Internet will help the district decide how to spend money and how much to invest in online learning, as opposed to traditional books and classroom learning.