Charlotte Asks Parents to Purchase Classroom Technology

Officials at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina have asked parents and the PTA to raise the funds for the educational technology required to be used in the classroom. The district says that while the children who can’t afford their own devices won’t be left out, parents raising their own funds would be a better prospect than trying to squeeze already-tight budgets.

This isn’t a new concept for some public and charter schools, writes Ann Doss Helms at the Charlotte Observer.

Helms cites the example of the Carolina International School, a K-10 charter in Harrisburg, who recently asked families to do their part in ensuring that all students above third grade have their own tablets to use in class.

“About two-thirds bought their kids tablets, and the school paid for those who couldn’t”, writes Helms.

As schools continue to drive towards the widespread use of wireless tablets, they’re looking to access government technology money, grants or corporate and community partners to make sure there are enough to go around.

While parents and PTAs have been asked to do their bit, organizations like Project LIFT, a philanthropic group who plans to pump $55 million into West Charlotte High and its seven feeder schools, and One Laptop Per Child are attempting to get low-cost computers with Internet access into the homes of all families in the country.

The growing nationwide Bring Your Own Technology movement encouraged officials at a Kansas City school to decide that students are allowed to bring their own laptops, smartphones and other devices to class.

The policy at Notre Dame de Sion High School is one of the first of its kind, but as biology teacher Kathleen Teel has found, there are some teething problems. There is an inability to be able to monitor all of the pupils’ work at once, and the classroom climate is threatened by the potential consequences of exacerbating an already troublesome climate for cyberbullying.