Tuesday, March 6, 2012

CMS teachers can seek iPad grants

Teachers who want help moving into next year's wireless learning environment can apply for grants to get an  "innovation kit"  that includes an iPad for the teacher,  up to 10 for students and various accessories,  including  "an iTunes app voucher,"   according to a memo Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools sent to employees today.

The  "Innovation for Transformation"  grants are part of the push to get all schools using wireless devices for learning in 2012-13.  School administrators have already gotten iPads,  and many teachers have been asking whether they'll get devices supplied by CMS.  I'm trying to track down how much money CMS plans to spend on the classroom grants and where it's coming from.

"In order for the learning environments of today to effectively meet the needs of the 21st century digital learner, a transformation must occur,"  the CMS memo states, promising "a transformational journey filled with innovative professional development, digital resources, and effective student engagement."

I got a glimpse of what CMS'  "bring your own technology" environment might look like when I visited the private Providence Day School for an upcoming story.  Josh Cannon, a 26-year-old chemistry teacher,  welcomes smart phones and other devices in his class.  When he did a demonstration that sent flames shooting out of a five-gallon water keg,  one student shot photos on his iPhone.  When Cannon talked about needing a dry day to do some outdoor explosions, half a dozen students whipped out their phones to check the forecast.  When students broke up to do individual work,  one used his phone as a calculator while working on a laptop.  Several popped in ear buds so they could listen to music while reading.  Students say they use their phones to keep up with when assignments are due,  which they track on Google calendars.

Also on the tech front,  Saturday's National College Fair will use bar codes to save students and families some paperwork.  CMS reports that students can fill in their information once,  then get a code that each college booth can scan,  saving the time of repeatedly writing down personal information. Read more about the fair here.


Anonymous said...

Yet again, CMS has dropped the ball before the game ever began.The idea of moving to a wireless learning environment before every student is equipped with an ipad or laptop is beyond ludicrous.Superintendent Hattabaugh and his play friends should visit the Mooresville City Schools to see what wireless education is supposed to look like.

The taxpayers of this county should be in revolt.$9 million of CMS's Race To the Top funds were squandered on a Pay For Performance Initiative that never got off the ground.How much money will they spend next year to launch the Student Evaluation of Teachers Circus? How about the millions of dollars they have spent and continue to spend on End Of Course Tests that are not mandated by the state?

As a CMS teacher, I can tell you that we have given up any hope of sanity in CMS and the School Board.Game over.It would take twenty years of sound fiscal management, and honest educational leadership to get us as a school system back to where we were TEN YEARS ago.
May God help your children.

Wiley Coyote said...

...and many teachers have been asking whether they'll get devices supplied by CMS. I'm trying to track down how much money CMS plans to spend on the classroom grants and where it's coming from.

Why not ask Rick Hendrick and Michael Jordan for a $500,000 donation? They supplied that much for a number of kids to play sports.

Only stands to reason they would jump at the chance to help teachers actually have tools to teach those same kids.

Anonymous said...

Ann, Ask CMS what their plans are for theft of personal devices in the school room. I am sure they have not thought this thru and what kind of suspension figures they are going to work with. Technology is great , BUT when you have no idea how to manage it then your just playing games my friend..

Anonymous said...

Someone should also ask CMS why schools in this day and age do not have telephones in the classroom and instead have a call button. There is technology out there to provide web based phones at a fractiopn of the cost but CMS refuses to embrace this and instead blocks these. That is why the wireless technology they keep crowing about is an absolute joke.

Jeff Moran said...

Check the weather?
Take a picture?
Use a calculator?

These are hardly justifications for spending money on technology.

Jeff Moran

Anonymous said...

We would just settle for heat in our child's classroom. The heat has been out most of this winter and CMS administrators could care less since their heat works.

BolynMcClung said...


CMS is about to add to the education GAP. Welcome Technology GAP

For those of us who really grew-up with the computer age (keypunch, CB radio,ATT terminal, Commodore 64, AT, XT, Apple, DOS3.1, BASIC,5 ¼ floppies, token ring, 300mb disk, T1, and then the Internet) we know that none of this was planned at the user level. All of us chased the shifting sands of technology. We were always in that GAP between new and old equipment.

Now CMS is joining that unscripted march by tempting families with an education plan that is nothing more than owning the next piece of hardware. I don’t see a plan here. I see the past and I see Moore’s Rule ver. 2.0.

Version 2.0 states that whatever idea CMS has about education and IT, it will be obsolete in 18 months.

Please, someone at CMS use some sense. Make a plan. Quit telling parents that all they need is a smart device.

But no matter whether there is a plan or not, it is predictable that CMS is now adding to the divide between the have and have-nots: it will be the schoolhouse level technology GAP.

Jealousy and envy are about to reach a new low.

Bolyn McClung

misswhit said...

Have to agree with Jeff Moran about examples cited on use of technology in Providence Day classroom. Using devices to take pictures, check the weather, calculate, or listen to music while reading is hardly cutting edge and has questionable value for education, especially when cost is factored in. Sounds like everyone is enjoying using expensive toys though--is that the purpose of "bring your own technology"?

Wiley Coyote said...

Bolyn is right.

Technology is disposable.

I remember fondly my days of key punch in the basement of the USC Engineering building using FORTRAN.

It's amazing CMS just doesn't get it.... about anything.

Ann Doss Helms said...

I probably should have been clearer about PDS -- I'm doing a story on a much deeper use of technology in instruction. I just thought it was interesting to see how students used their phones in a classroom where there's no ban on using them.

BolynMcClung said...


You should ask CMS's instuctional side if they are aware of Moore's Law. You should ask if the CMS IT folks are prepared to accomodate all the different browsers; known and not yet built.

And what I believe is a critical question, does the instructional understand that as much as the IT guy has the power of God, he's a mere mortal when it comes to the power of a teenage mastery of PC hell.

Bolyn McClung

Christine Mast said...


Don't bother asking Dr. Muri about money. I already asked similar questions about the 858 iPads that have been given out to administrators for a cool $1.2 million of local funds... but for any more detail than that, I was hastily referred to the CMS website, as he claims that information is available there.

Dr. Muri (when asked how many employees that received iPads already had desktops and/or laptops): All school based CMS employees have access to computers. Some of these employees have computers that are issued to them while others have access to devices that are located in their work space or other locations around the campus. Further information about our budget, technology plan, as well as Strategic Plan 2014 can be found on the CMS web site.

(insert sarcasm)So to save you some time, simply search the CMS website, and I'm sure you'll find what you're looking for.(end sarcasm)

Anonymous said...

Nothing personal against Dr. Muri, but I was very surprised as to his (lack of) background in IT, found in his detailed bio on the CMS website:

Dr. Scott R. Muri
Chief Information Officer

Dr. Scott R. Muri is the chief information officer for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. He leads a 160-member information/technology division that is charged with driving key technology and performance management initiatives.

“As leaders in education, we have a moral imperative to provide all students with an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective leader in every school,” Dr. Muri said. “I believe in rigorous standards for students, teachers, leaders and myself. Teaching and learning must be relevant and engaging. Transformational leadership is critical to success in the urban school environment.”

Dr. Muri previously served as the zone superintendent for the CMS Northeast Learning Zone. Before joining CMS in 2007, Dr. Muri served as an instructional technology specialist and administrator at Disney’s Celebration School in Celebration, Florida. A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, Dr. Muri earned a bachelor’s degree in intermediate and middle school education from Wake Forest University and a master’s degree in school administration from Stetson University. He holds a specialist degree and a doctorate in educational leadership from Wingate University.

Anonymous said...

Teachers who want help moving into next year's wireless learning environment can apply for grants...

Does anyone else feel like the teachers just got slapped? As in, CMS already found the money and paid for administrators to get these iPads, but if YOU, as a teacher, want one, you need to get a grant.

By the way, I heard at least one school is pulling teachers out of their classrooms, redistributing the kids to other rooms (which are already full), and making these teachers work on paperwork for grants.

And how are some administrators using these new iPads? To take pictures in the classroom and at school functions.

Anonymous said...

So who decides which students get the 10 ipads - I'm sre they will go to the ones in $150 sneekers and who get all other school expenses paid... How can anyone think this can ever be a fair way to run a school system

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:33

Don't fret over those CIO "qualifications".

When I was getting my MBA at a major university specializing in Information Management, we had a CIO come "lecture" us from a mid-sized corporation.

He told us his main qualification for the job was that he had played golf with the CEO.

Proving to us all the value of the degrees we were pursuing.

We could have taken golf lessons instead.

So I'm not surprised to hear that the CIO doesn't know anything about IT.

That's been a trend in IT management in a lot of places for the last 15 years or so.

Ann Doss Helms said...

2:44, I'd bet that they won't just pick some students and hand over the iPads, but that they'd be used for small-group work in a classroom so everyone would get a shot. But that's one of the many things I and others will be watching as this plays out.

Anonymous said...

This kind of reminds of an uproar that I remember from the late 80's concerning TVs in the classroom. In Tennessee a company was offering TVs for every classroom in a school (for educational purposes of course) if the school signed up for their geared-for-teenagers newscasts. (The kicker there was that the newscasts included commercials.) This was supposed to be the wave of the future for education. However, soon those TVs were setting idle most, if not all, of the day.

Anonymous said...

Ann, start filing some Freedom of Information Act requests and force CMS in come clean with their funding sources.

Then ask about the $38 per month chrge for each of the 858 admin ipads. (connection fee for 3G)

Waste not Want not

Wiley Coyote said...

Teachers who want help moving into next year's wireless learning environment can apply for grants to get an "innovation kit" that includes an iPad for the teacher, up to 10 for students and various accessories, including "an iTunes app voucher"

My questions are, why is this teacher specific? Shouldn't these grants be targeted in a controlled way by the main office, by school for a specific, verifiable use and outcome and not have them spread out all over creation with no directives? What happens to these 10 iPads at the end of the school year? What happens to them if a teacher transfers?

To Anon 3:00...rest assured that being "ED" will certainly come into play at some point in this process.

Anonymous said...

Wingate must have a special buy on educational specialist doctorates for aspiring CMS wannabes. Avossa, Muri, etc. as the shell game continues.

Anonymous said...

If a CMS teacher would like the honor of being chosen for an IPad grant he/she is supposed to attend a two hour grant writing seminar after school. This would be unpaid time spent figuring out how to jump through the hoops established by the CMS grant team. The teacher must then write the grant and if approved attend 2 full days of training during the summer. Again, unpaid. The teacher must then continue to document how the IPads are used during the year and submit lessons and ideas to remain in compliance with the grant. All equipment remains the property of CMS. So even though the teacher wrote the grant and followed all protocol, the technology actually belongs to the school. As a teacher, I am supposed to beg for materials that CMS deems necessary. If this equipment is so necessary shouldn't it be supplied without strings attached? Why supply IPads to school administrators who make much more money than most teachers, yet require teachers to beg at the trough of technology? If a CMS teacher balks at these expectations, his/her commitment to student achievement is questioned. If this technology will make such a difference, why aren't parents and administrators required to write grants? Why must the responsibility of properly stocking a classroom with technology fall on the teacher?

My loyalty is with my students. This is why I spend many hours each week outside of my regular work hours grading papers, attending parent conferences, tutoring struggling students, attending student's sporting events, writing camp, college, and scholarship reference letters, and participating in professional development that will energize my classroom.

Most CMS classrooms were given two new desktops this year. Some teachers never turn them on because they just aren't useful in that classroom environment. Other teachers use their new computers constantly. Why are IPads so much better? How will this increase student achievement? How will this help students who can't read and write and yet are in high school? How will this encourage critical thinking and problem solving skills? I would much rather my students write about what they see in a science experiment than snap a picture with their IPhone. Students need to interact with learning materials and discuss and evaluate what they learn, not flip through screens on an IPad.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this money could have gone for raises, or fixing the First Ward Multi Track Year Round School fiasco that's about to go down, or tutoring, or books, or......

Anonymous said...

How about you give High Schools an allotment that will allow them to ohh.... cut class sizes? Word on the streets is that some high schools have the SAME allotment as last year and other have FEWER allotments than last year--- FEWER? Seriously... wasn't there just a story in the paper about how, given the improved budget picture, high school would be able to increase their faculty--even just a smidge--in order to get class sizes down--we've got classes of 40+ still... maybe that statement from CMS brass was only for "certain" schools (ahem Title I ahem)...So those schools not only get more money per pupil, but they also get even smaller classes. I do understand that teaching in certain schools you MUST have smaller classes or ask for a security guard to hang out with you in your room...but seriously. That "GRANT" from taxpayer dollars would easily pay for over 100 teachers---divide that amongst the 12 or so high schools---you'd REALLY be able to bring down class sizes for EVERYONE!!

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if CMS could allocate some of this technology money to pay for copy paper and copier supplies. At my wife’s school, the administration allocates only 200 copies per teacher and no more! However, the administration requires teachers to make copies of materials for students, staff meetings, and messages for parents, but fails to provide adequate resources. So far this year, we have paid out of our pocket for more than 1000 copies on our home printer. Seems like CMS should explore ways to pay for the very basics before spending this much money on technology. CMS has always reminded me of someone who could not make his or her house payment, but went out and bought a brand new expensive car anyway.

Adobe business catalyst said...

This kind of reminds of an uproar that I remember from the late 80's concerning TVs in the classroom. In Tennessee a company was offering TVs for every classroom in a school (for educational purposes of course) if the school signed up for their geared-for-teenagers newscasts. (The kicker there was that the newscasts included commercials.) This was supposed to be the wave of the future for education. However, soon those TVs were setting idle most, if not all, of the day.