DEPARTMENT PROVIDES DISTRICTS PICTURE OF TECHNOLOGY READINESS IN LOCAL SCHOOLS

Jul 12, 2012

Louisiana Technology Footprint Provides Snapshot of Digital Readiness of Schools

BATON ROUGE, La. - Today, State Superintendent of Education John White released the Louisiana Technology Footprint, a report and set of technology guidelines that provide a snapshot of the current state of digital readiness of school districts and campuses in the state. Louisiana Believes, the state’s comprehensive plan to empower educators and parents to make the best choices for children, includes a goal for all schools to be digital-ready by 2014-2015.

"We must believe our students and teachers can achieve great things, but they need access to the right technology to do so," said White. "We are not there yet. Too few schools are ready for the digital age. If we plan now, and invest our funds wisely, we can change this."

The Louisiana Technology Footprint provides critical information to school districts as they prepare to transition to online assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards. 

The report provides districts with an initial footprint picture of network, bandwidth and device requirements needed to fully implement online assessments in 2014-2015 and full digital readiness afterward. Districts will receive a customized report and be able to see where they stand compared to the footprint picture, learn the extent to which their schools are digital-ready, and learn how to budget for upcoming technology investments.

Data and technology specifications received to date indicate school campuses in Louisiana have 197,898 devices available for online testing but only 67,038 meet new device standards. In order to meet 2014-15 testing guidelines, districts will need to purchase or upgrade computers and other devices already owned by districts that don’t currently meet the minimum hardware specifications. There are five districts - Ascension Parish, City of Bogalusa, Red River Parish, St. James Parish and FirstLine Schools (New Orleans) - who meet the minimum device readiness requirements and only two districts, Ascension and St. James which meet both device and network readiness guidelines for online testing.

Districts will continue to submit data throughout the next two years as they implement new or upgrade current technology within their district. The state will then release bi-annual updated footprint snapshots for districts to track their progress in meeting the 2014-15 online testing requirements.

Although these numbers show what schools will need for online testing, they do not address the technology needed for new instructional models and teaching methods in schools. To assist school systems in determining the computers needed to support these models, the Department of Education recommends a minimum student to computer ratio of 7:1 for online testing, 5:1 for a minimum classroom learning environment, and 1:1 for an optimal classroom learning environment.

When surveyed, one of the main concerns school districts had for adopting new technology requirements was a lack of staff, training and support while attempting to address other educational priorities.

White is encouraging school districts to join a statewide consortium that will aid in technology services and support. The consortium will enable districts to take advantage of economies of scale for consolidated purchasing and contracts. It will also give districts access to a statewide taskforce of district and state technology staff who can provide training and support as districts adopt technology initiatives.

School districts are also encouraged to sign a Technology Readiness Certification. The certification states that a district will begin planning and implementing efforts to achieve technology readiness by 2014-2015.

The Louisiana Technology Footprint is available at www.louisianaschools.net. The report will be updated and enhanced twice a year as the state, districts and schools move toward achieving educational technology goals.

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