Technology is a Privilege – 1:1 Technology in Omaha Classrooms

Alanazi Alanoud, Sam Herold, Miranda Jangula, Gaetano Moirano

In the past several years technology within the schools, and even within the individual classrooms has grown. Teachers, parents, and even students need to have the best tools possible to help the students succeed in their education and become technologically advanced in a new technological world that is being formed. In 2008, President Obama announced an idea called ConnectED which introduced different programs to schools, one of them being the 1:1 program.

The 1:1 program is a program that provides a technological device to every student in a school for educational purposes. Across the United States many different schools have started to implement this program. In 2000, about 1000 schools had implemented it, and that number continues to grow. This study looked at nine schools to see whether they had the 1:1 program integrated into their classrooms to get a better understanding of the program in Omaha, Nebraska. In the schools that were sampled, the ones that do have it, the costs, the funding, and the application in the classroom were all studied


Across the Omaha area there are 8 different public high schools and about 13 private high schools. This study sampled five of the most well known public high schools in Omaha, and only three of the private high schools. In addition, Millard Public Schools were also sampled in this study. All of these schools were picked due to them being amongst the most popular schools in Omaha, and having the best representation of the students in Omaha. Millard Public Schools is a small district just southwest of the Omaha Public Schools district, but is still located in Omaha.

The study addressed what schools in Omaha have the 1:1 program and how it is paid for. Which schools have implemented the 1:1 program must first be noted before any research can be done on how it is implemented and how it affects the classrooms.

The public high schools that were studied were Benson, Burke, Omaha South, Westside, Central, and Millard Public Schools. The private high schools were Creighton Prep, Marian, and Skutt. Each of the schools’ websites were viewed to see if they mentioned having the 1:1 program. If they did have it, the next question was what the cost would be for the students. Again, this information was found on the schools websites. The school usually explained exactly how much they would charge the student, as well as insurance costs and fees. Another aspect that this study examined was what kind of funding these schools have that allows them to implement this program. This was done by looking at the budgets that each school has set up. Finally, the applications of the technology in the classroom amongst the teachers and students was studied.


1:1 Programming Provided in Omaha:

Nine schools across Omaha were sampled in this study to see which offered the 1:1 program. Of the nine high schools: Creighton Prep, Westside, Burke, Skutt Catholic, Marian Catholic, Millard Public Schools Omaha South, Benson, Omaha South, and Central, only five offered the 1:1 program. The five schools that offer the 1:1 program are Westside High School,  Marian High School, Creighton Prep, Millard Public Schools, and Skutt High School.

Westside High School offers the 1:1 program to every student in high school. This program was first implemented in 2004. The principal at the time, Pat Hutchings, said he asked himself, “What do students need to know and what are the best tools to teach them?” He decided that providing laptops to every student would be the best tool needed to reach success. (“Westside: One to One”, n.d.)

Another school located in Omaha that has the 1:1 program is Marian High School, which was implemented at the start of the 2013-2014 school year. Marian is an all girls private school. Rather than individual access to laptops, Marian offers iPads to each of their students. Every student is required to either purchase or lease an iPad from the school, but they are not allowed to bring their own personal devices from home. The reason for that is Marian’s technology team likes to take ownership and responsibility for the devices in order to control content and fix any problems that may come up. (“Academics Overview,” n.d.)

Creighton Prep has a very different 1:1 program style implemented into their school. They do not provide the technological devices, but they do require every student enrolled at Creighton Prep to bring their own iPad. They consider the iPad Retina Display 4th Generation, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini with Retina Display, iPad Mini 2, and iPad Mini all acceptable devices to bring as long as they can store 32GB. If a student forgets their iPad they can rent one from the library, but the availability of these devices is limited. (“1:1 Program,” n.d.)

Millard Public Schools is it’s own district in the southwest part of Omaha. In the Millard Public Schools district, Millard North, Millard South, Millard West, and Horizon all offer the 1:1 student to laptop program. Each student is supplied with a Hewlett Packard 360 Multi-functional Laptop Computer which can act as either a laptop or a tablet due to its touchscreen. Each laptop is customized for each individual student and prevents the laptops from being shared between students. (“Power Up,” 2016)

Skutt Catholic High School offers each of its students a 32GB iPad Air for educational use. Students may optionally choose to use their own personal device. However, the student must agree to have their device cleared of all data and have device management software installed. This restricts device usage to apps that the school provides and allows the school to ensure that the devices are being used for educational purposes. iPads that are rented from the school come preloaded with this monitoring software. (“iPad Usage Agreement,” 2016)

Costs of the 1:1 program:

Every school that offers the 1:1 program does so in a different way, which causes the cost to vary by location. The cost directly depends on what type of device each school has implemented. Not only that, but it also depends on if they lease the device to the students, require them to bring their own, or completely rely on federal/state funding or grants.

This study found that when looking at a 1:1 program style like Marian’s, it may cost the most for the students. Marian offers a 2-year leasing contract and charges an annual $350 technology fee. (“Tuition Information,” 2016)  At the end of the 2 years, which would be the end of a student’s sophomore year, the student has the chance to buy the iPad or upgrade to the newest version. The reason Marian’s program cost more is because they do offer the most recent device on the market. If the device does get broken or damaged, they do offer a $49 fee to fix or replace the iPad. However, after the third incident, or if an iPad gets lost or stolen, it is up to the students to pay the full cost for repairs or replacement. Students are also responsible for the cost of replacing lost chargers, cables, and protective cases. (“Students Acceptable Use,” 2013)

Of the schools that were sampled, the one that seems to have the most cost effective plan for the school is Creighton Prep. Upon enrollment students are required to buy their own iPad for classroom use. The cheapest acceptable iPad that a student can purchase is around $250. That might not seem like that much, but to add that onto their $10,390 tuition fee, it does make a difference. However, the students have full ownership of their devices, and are not required to purchase insurance or upgrade their device. This also means that the students are able to keep their devices and downloaded software after they graduate. (“1:1 Program,” n.d.)

At Skutt Catholic High School, students are required to pay an annual rental fee which is communicated at the beginning of each school year. If a student chooses to provide their own device, they are not required to pay the rental fee. However, all students are required to pay a technology fee of $115 that helps to cover the cost of infrastructure. Students that decide to rent their devices through the school are covered under the school’s Apple Care+ program for any accidental damages to the device while students who provide their own devices are responsible for all damage. (“BYOD iPad Agreement,” 2016)

Implementations of 1:1 programs differ greatly in public schools when compared to private schools. This study found that there is a significantly lower price for the school when comparing the two privately funded schools in Omaha to the one public school that offers it. At Westside High School, students have to pay a $17 fee plus an additional $40 insurance fee that is required for the individual laptops. The insurance does not cover water spills, screen cracks, or anything that may directly be due to negligence of the student. (“Computer Loan Agreement,” 2016)

In the Millard Public School district, costs are even lower. Each student must fill out a loan agreement form in order to receive their laptop during deployment day. However, there is an optional $20 insurance fee that will cover any damage done to the laptop except in the case of “gross negligence.” If a student does have issues with their laptop, a Technological Support Team is available at each Millard Public School in addition to an online helpdesk for documentation. (“Power Up,” 2016) In the case of a stolen laptop, a form must be submitted as well as a possible replacement fee depending on the situation. (“One to One Laptop Repair Costs,” 2017)

Bills and Funding for the 1:1 Program:

Millard Public Schools is the school district that receives the most funding for the 1:1 program. Based on their budget plan, the budget is equal to the budget for secondary student technology. They also received outside funding from the Millard Public Schools Foundation for 1 million dollars.

Westside High School funds their 1:1 program differently. Westside has a four year leasing agreement with Apple. They sell their older devices to pay for the newer versions. (“Budget Report,” 2017) Marian and Creighton Prep both fund their technological devices directly from the fees they charge their students. Skutt funds their program with annual technology fees, as well as with rental fees for devices rented through the school.

Application of the 1:1 Program in the Classroom:

For every school in Omaha that offers the 1:1 program the technological devices, whether that be an iPad or a laptop are used in every classroom. The students and teachers work together to incorporate the technology into their everyday lives and use it in a way that will best benefit them.

Many opposers of the 1:1 program say that it is a hard program to implement because it actually creates more work for the teachers. However, Westside understood that most teachers may be nervous to use technology when they aren’t comfortable with it, so they set up a website that completely explains how to use the various apps and programs on the laptops. They made testing extremely easy by installing the DRC Insight app that grades student work automatically Once a student starts an exam, they can’t close out of it, which prevents them from using the internet while testing. Not only that, but they use a website called Blackboard on which the teachers post assignments, discussions, journals, etc. for their students use. (“Online Services,” n.d.)

This study suggests that the 1:1 programs inside of these schools has had a major impact on the way students learn, as well as on their involvement within the classroom. These three schools are among the top ranked schools and highest testers in not only Omaha, but in all of Nebraska. That says something about the way they teach on a day to day basis and what tools they use.


The biggest question the findings in this study presented was: Why these schools? When studying these schools one major thing stands out: the funding that is put into them.

Based on the nine schools that were studied only four schools, and one small district have the 1:1 program implemented. The real difference though is better understood by looking at the four schools that don’t have it. The four schools that don’t have it are: Benson, Burke, Central, and Omaha South. All of these schools have a lower income and socio-economically disadvantaged school population. Both Benson and Omaha South are actually magnet schools that place their government funding into other programs rather than a 1:1.

Not only are these schools more economically disadvantaged, they tend to have lower graduation rate, lower test scores, and higher free and reduced lunches rates. Those trends are similar for Central and Burke. Burke High School is located at 12200 Burke St. near Boys Town and has approximately 2,100 students enrolled. Central is located in Downtown Omaha and has about 2,600 students enrolled. They are two of the biggest schools in Omaha and therefore it would cost a lot more to implement a 1:1 student to technology ratio. Although Westside is big, they only average about 2,000 students a year and their test scores are high, their graduation rate is high, their diversity population is low, and their free and reduced lunches percentage is low.


The biggest indication on whether or not public schools provided technology to their students was their percentage of students on free and reduced lunches. The higher the percentage the less likely it would be for a school to provide the 1:1 program. After making that correlation the study prompted the question, why? The answer/educated guess is schools that are not dependent on the government for school lunches invest more into the 1:1 technology programs. One common factor that affected the schools was the demographic influence. Schools that are geographically located in wealthier/ more affluent communities tend to have more funding for technology and extracurricular activities than schools in less affluent communities.

When taking a closer look at how private schools are funded vs the way government schools are funded, a better understanding of why the technological discrepancy can be found. Taxpayers fund the public school systems. These taxes act as a revenue source that is added into the state, county, or local government’s budget. An example of taxation used to fund public education is property tax.

“The assessed value is a yearly estimation performed to decide the reasonable market value for your home based upon prevailing local real estate market conditions.” (Property Taxes: How They Are Calculated, 2017)

Further Analysis

Integration of 1:1 programs in Omaha, Nebraska has not been done by any schools in the Omaha Public School District besides Westside High School. Omaha Public Schools are in lower income areas have less tax dollars generated, which leads to less government funding of those schools. OPS schools that do not provide a 1:1 program have lower graduation rates, higher rates of economically disadvantaged students, lower test scores, and free or reduced lunch rates seemed to follow similar trends. The statistic that provided the strongest correlation was that between the free and reduced lunch rates and the 1:1 program.

Millard Public School District on the other hand is a public school district but they offer 1:1 programs. Schools in that district have higher graduation rates, test scores, and have lower rates of students that require school provided lunches.

Private schools in the Omaha area are totally independent from the system. They are privately owned establishments that are funded through student tuition. All these private schools have 1:1 integration in their schools.


In conclusion, after studying these nine schools the evidence suggests that schools that offered free or reduced cost lunches did not incorporate 1:1 program. This is because most of the money they do receive from the government needs to go directly into feeding the students which is more important than providing each student with their own personalized technological device. However, when looking at the selected private schools they all charged their students fees or required them to bring their own device which is how they were able to implement the 1:1 program.


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