Charlotte Mecklenburg school teachers are getting ready for the start of the school year. There are classrooms to arrange, lesson plans to put together and, this year, a whole lot of technology to learn.
A couple of dozen CMS schools will allow students to bring their own laptops, tablets and smart phones to class shortly after school starts. Ultimately, the district wants to allow all students to do so. And so teachers are trying to figure out how to plan lessons using this technology and, of course, make sure students are using these devices to learn, and not just goof off.
"It's just like classroom management. It's just one more thing that you'll have to manage," says Damien Akelman, a social studies teacher at Harding High. He was leading a class on this at the district's technology conference for teachers this week.
There's an art teacher, a Spanish teacher, a computer lab teacher in the class. One of them asks about planning a lesson that uses tablets when only half of the students have them. "You pair kids up based on technology," says Akelman. "They may not be willing to share their IPad or their cell phone or whatever they may happen to have, but if you can put them into groups and you can do, 'Okay you have the role of researcher.'"
CMS plans to notify schools whether they'll be part of the pilot in mid-September. It'll last six weeks and include 20 to 30 schools throughout the district. After that CMS will decide whether to expand it to more schools this year.