But now, some teachers let students use their own mobile devices for schoolwork.
It's among issues targeted by a committee creating a five-year technology plan.
"Technology has just been as asset for helping us connect with kids" in a digital world, he said.
The challenge is figuring out how to pay to upgrade desktop computers while also buying mobile devices. Dickinson put together a work group this fall of about a dozen teachers and administrators to create a five-year technology plan. They've been working on it since October and should be done in a month, he said.
"It's really driven by the money coming from the state for technology," Dickinson said, and other sources such as grants.
Desktop computers throughout the district are aging. About 3,500 of the district's 3,800 desktop computers are at least six years old, says a technology report presented Monday to the school board.
When the economic downtown hit in 2009, the district cut back on technology spending, Dickinson said. Before, the district was replacing desktop computers yearly on a rotating basis.
The technology plan recommends reviving that approach, Dickinson said.
As for mobile devices, some schools used grant money to buy them, but they're not common in the district. The committee's goal is one device for every two students. Dickinson said he'd love to see a one-to-one plan, but he thinks the cost will prohibit that.
A classroom with 30 students can do a lot, though, with even four or five devices, Dickinson said. Mobile devices would only be used in classrooms, and "we're not buying devices to give to kids," he said. The two most popular devices in classrooms now are iPads and Chromebooks.
"The iPad has been really popular with our younger grades," Dickinson said, especially kindergarten through third grades.
Chromebooks are used more frequently at middle and high schools.
The district's elementary and middle schools also have wireless Internet access, but the three high schools do not.
"We were supposed to have it installed back in December, but they are behind," according to the technology report. "We are hoping that is completed in the next couple of months."
Almost half of
The contract committed the state to pay
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