Located near the “Silicon Slopes” tech hub, the Murray City School District serves 7,000 students in grades K-12. The district’s three-year plan to upgrade its technology infrastructure and implement a 1:1 program was completed in about a year, thanks to innovative approaches to budgeting. Now all students have devices, and a new “tech café” model offers professional development for teachers.
Digital learning has caught on quickly. For a virtual field trip, fourth-grade students connected to a Yellowstone docent, who wore a GoPro to show and teach them about Old Faithful and wildlife in real-time. Fifth graders learn basic coding and computational thinking with small robots. When asked about student engagement, elementary teaching, and learning director Missy Hamilton laughs and describes students holding laptops and chasing robots down the halls. “It is the loudest, most productive learning noise you can imagine.”
At the high school level, teachers can upload their lectures and notes to the learning management system for students to watch and read in advance, leaving class time for group discussion and differentiated instruction. “Teachers aren’t tethered to overhead projectors anymore,” says Hamilton. “They can deliver lessons in so many different ways now. Technology has enabled differentiation and individualization.” It’s also enabled frequent digital assessments, which show a significant rise in test scores.