Vermont Schools Have More Computers Than Kids

The number of laptops, tablets and other electronic devices now outnumber the number of K–12 students in Vermont, according to a new Agency of Education (AOE) technology survey.

Vermont schools own about 85,000 devices for student use, up from about 45,000 in the same survey just two years ago, according to the Burlington Free Press. The state has about 77,000 students in kindergarten through high school, according to an online enrollment report for the most recent school year.

“We’re just pretty wired, is all I can say,” Ellen Thompson, director of instruction and information services at Essex Town School District, told the Free Press. In her district, technology use starts in kindergarten and each student in grades 6 through 8 receives a dedicated computer.

The Agency of Education is aiming for 1-to-1 computing at all grade levels across the state.

The survey found that Chromebooks make up 47 percent of all computer devices in Vermont’s K–12 schools, up from 28 percent in 2015. Google’s Chromebooks are replacing traditional desktop computers throughout the state (and the country). Only 16 percent of Vermont’s school devices are desktop computers, according to the technology survey.

Of the 305 schools in the survey, 237 of them said they access the Internet through fiber-optic connections. A majority have high-speed access of at least 100 Mb, the survey said.

Peter Drescher, the AOE’s education technology coordinator, said the agency’s first priority is ensuring all schools have adequate technology, and the next is encouraging use in the classroom, according to the Free Press.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].