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Denton ISD survey to gauge technology use

Profile image for By Britney Tabor / Staff Writer
By Britney Tabor / Staff Writer

Denton school officials say they plan to survey students, staff and parents electronically on their use of technology to help the district develop a new technology plan.

An e-mail with a link to the survey will be sent to parents who have addresses on file with the district, and campus and district websites will also offer access to the survey, according to Barry Fox, the district’s instructional technology director.

The survey will be conducted from Jan. 13 through Feb. 7. Fox plans to present the results to the school board at a February meeting.

“It’s very short,” Fox said of the survey. “It can take as much as five minutes, maybe 10.”

Fox said the survey will measure four areas: classroom use of technology, accessibility to technology at school and at home, individual technology skills and the school environment’s support of technology.

Students in third grade through high school will be asked to take the survey. Younger students will not, Fox said.

“Being our first year, I’d like to see a 100 percent response rate from our staff,” Fox said. “It would be great to see 75 percent of our students responding to the survey, and I hope to see 50 percent of our parents responding to the survey. ... That would be a very successful response rate.”

Denton will conduct the survey using Bright Bytes, a service being offered at no cost to the district through the Region 11 Education Service Center based in Fort Worth, Fox said. Bright Bytes has three components — the survey, results and customized recommendations for improvement.

Every five years the district does an evaluation of its technology plan that’s submitted to the Texas Education Agency, Fox said. The district is required to submit a new technology plan every five years to qualify for some federal funding, he said.

The district is conducting a needs assessment in preparation for the new technology plan, and the survey will serve as a springboard for that plan, he said.

Fox told school board members Tuesday that the survey is “not just a new innovative way to collect data.” He said it will provide a road map to help the district prepare students for the 21st century, college and careers.

“The exciting part is finding the areas we excel in. But the real meat of this project is to find the areas that need to be addressed,” Fox said.

School board President Charles Stafford commended Fox on finding “a forward-thinking source of information.” He said what the district could glean from survey results could assist in making better-informed decisions for district technology plans.

“That’s pretty neat. I’m very excited,” Stafford said. “It’s more of a businesslike approach to data harvesting.”

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.