This fall marks the first semester that all three Summit County school districts - Park City, North Summit and South Summit - will be assigning technological devices to students in the classroom.

It is all part of the "One-to-One Laptop School" movement in which schools nationwide try to provide a laptop for each student in a classroom.

According to Lori Gardner, Technology Director of the Park City School District (PCSD), hers was the first district in the state of Utah to move to a one-to-one model in grades 5-12. PCSD first ventured into the technological advancement six years ago with a two-to-one model in fifth-grade classes and has expanded since then.

"We started assigning laptops at Ecker Hill Middle School," said Gardner, "and last year was the first year that we had laptops assigned to each student at Park City High School."

North Summit School District (NSSD) executed the one-to-one model halfway through the school year last year, according to North Summit High School Principal Russ Hendry. In January, NSSD became a one-to-one district in which each student in grades 7-12 was assigned an iPad that they can take home with them.

"Teachers have started coming up with online assignments, and we started acquiring electronic textbooks in PDF form," said Hendry.

Kindergarten through sixth-grade classrooms have "carts," which are "basically computer labs on wheels," Hendry said.


The carts are rolled into the classrooms with iPads, and teachers and students can use them for the day for different assignments.

NSSD Technology Director Kelly Richins said that there is a school Internet filter on the devices at all times and that about 80 percent of students have Internet access.

"It is sometimes a parent choice that these students don't have internet access," said Richins. "For those that don't, we have iPad applications that work online as well as offline."

Gary Crandall, Technology Director of South Summit School District, said that this will be the first year that SSSD implements a modified one-to-one model. This means that there will be 30 laptops available in every classroom grades 3-12, but the students cannot take them home.

"The laptops are made available in all of our core classes, which are our tested subjects - math, science and language arts," said Crandall. "They are also in our history classes."

Each student is assigned an 8GB USB drive for downloading assignments. That way they can work on them at home and bring the assignments back to turn in at school the next day, he said.

All three districts are working with Apple products, and SSSD even has Apple TV throughout the district. This means that students can give presentations in the classroom with their Macbook Air laptops without leaving their desks.

It has also helped SSSD cut back on some expenses. According to Crandall, teachers are given software for each specific core subject, so instead of buying the licensing for software for 500 different computers, the district only has to buy it for 30 since the computers remain in the classroom.

However, while all students are being treated to these technological advances, some do not have Internet access at home. The school districts are working with local vendors to help those who qualify for discounted Internet access.

Stacy Busby, a Comcast representative, said that families with students who qualify for the free lunch program are eligible for a significant discount on Internet services.

"We are working with schools to help bridge the digital divide," said Busby. "Almost everything is done online now, and we feel that internet access is very important for kids to keep up in the classroom."

PCHS classrooms are all wired with Internet access that extends to the parking lots on school grounds, and if a student does not have access at home, they are given a list of hot spots in the community, Gardner said.

"We are very cognizant of those students who do not have Internet access," said Gardner. "We also make sure that teachers are aware and make assignments available offline."