Richmond County school adminstrators get iPads

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Educators in Richmond County now have a new tool in their push to increase the use of technology in schools.

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Cheryl Jones, executive director for elementary schools, works on an iPad before a Richmond County Board of Education meeting. About 190 iPads were purchased for administrators and principals.   Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Cheryl Jones, executive director for elementary schools, works on an iPad before a Richmond County Board of Education meeting. About 190 iPads were purchased for administrators and principals.

The Richmond County Board of Education purchased about 190 iPads for central office administrators and principals to be used in the 2011-12 school year.

Although the tablet computers will not yet be available for students, the iPads are aimed at helping administrators better evaluate teachers and keep track of data, said the system's director of media and instructional technology, Kim Stripling.

The reason for the move to iPads, Stripling said, is to make administrators more mobile and to give them access to Apple Inc.'s education applications.

Stripling said the district bought the iPads with grant funding at $715 each, totaling $135,850.

"It's a pretty neat, pretty powerful thing," Cross Creek High School Principal Jason Moore said of the iPads being used for education.

Principals will use the application eWalk while observing teachers in classrooms and then send the evaluation to teachers in seconds.

Moore said the application allows him to type comments into an evaluation sheet and then upload it to a database, which sends teacher feedback through e-mail.

"We have an instant dialogue on how to improve instruction," Moore said. "Before, I'd have to come back, take my notes, type them in a template we had or e-mail it. ... Now, by the time I leave the (classroom), I hit a couple things and send it, and they instantly have it."

The district purchased iPads for the 90 principals and vice principals at all schools using special purpose local option sales tax funds.

The 20 iPads purchased for central office administrators were paid for with a federal Title II competitive grant, according to Stripling.

Along with the evaluation applications, these administrators will use apps such as the remote desktop, so they can access their office computers on their iPads while they are out of the building.

The only school that will receive iPads for its teachers is T.W. Josey High School, which purchased the devices with its School Improvement Grant to help with instruction.

Stripling said teachers may use the iPads in labs with some students or link them to the Promethean interactive boards.

Richmond County school board President Alex Howard said that despite the cost, the iPads will help the system run more efficiently and help schools become more technology-focused.

Because not all administrators are given board-assigned laptops, the iPads could even save money, Howard said.

"I think we need to embrace it and move with it, and it will make our school system more efficient," Howard said. "Even in meetings, instead of having to print out the agenda and all the items for the board meetings, there's an application you're able to put notes in ... so you cut your costs there."

Without the textbook industry fully switched to digital textbooks and upgrades for book editions, Stripling said students in Richmond County will likely not be assigned iPads for several years.

However, that is a direction the district would like to move.

"I see the first step being class sets of them like a mini lab," Stripling said. "To have the students just carry around an iPad and not a 50-pound book bag, truly that's what I'd like to see. We hold on to traditional things in the public school system, so that's a hard jump, but truthfully it will be cheaper."

However with the district already using $10 million in reserve funds to make up for a $17 million budget shortfall next school year, board member Barbara Pulliam said she would have liked for the iPads only to be given to principals.

While principals are mobile, moving from classroom to classroom, she said many central office administrators are more stationary and could still do much of their work from their existing computer or laptop.

"Sometimes, we have to deal with needs before we deal with wants," Pulliam said.

As the district continues to distribute the iPads to administrators, it is also organizing training sessions so each user can understand the education applications and programs available on their device. For that, Pulliam said the learning process may make it worth it.

"I'm not saying they don't need them, but somebody in the central office who has computers anyway, I'm not sure. I can see (iPads) in the more learning environments in the schools, but I know they're trying to move ahead.

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Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 07/14/11 - 02:57 am
0
0
The use of eWalkiPad

The use of eWalkiPad application may have evaluative implications for teaching. Hopefully, this application will also be used to evaluate students' classroom behaviors.

Of course, in-classroom video and audio recording would be the best option in teacher and student evaluation.

Enyaw
13
Points
Enyaw 07/14/11 - 07:27 pm
0
0
Let me get this right...

Let me get this right... under paid teachers who are forced to bring up test scores, deal with declining student behavior, take even more furlough days, and deal with increased class sizes due to financial reasons in the system... Yet the central office staff and administrators who have no direct affect on student learning are given IPads purchased by whom? Let me guess? The money which the system claims it does not have and that is why they are not hiring and have cut the school year. I feel so sorry for teachers in the Richmond County School System.

lynn7044
190
Points
lynn7044 07/15/11 - 12:40 am
0
0
Well the first real problem

Well the first real problem is the board members, they need to stop increasing their pay and really do a their job.I have never seen so many lazy board members. You always talking about evaluating our teacher and not let them teach our children. There are some teacher that making learning fun for our children. Let them do what they get paid to do and not to take a state test. Lets go back to giving spelling test so kids can really learn words even in high school. This town talk so much about the magnet school. Why is it that my school tax go to a school that a small staff pick and choose who they want. There are alot of smart kids in Richmond County School,but if you get to hand pick,then yes it should have 100%. If the kids don't meet what the staff want them to do so, then the child is sent back to the home school of the child. So really, is it a real 100% great school. I am sure if the other schools in RCS could send trouble kids somewhere else, they to would all be 100%. Why are the schools not set as lotto just like most magnet schools under federal rules? Why parents not able to come to more meetings and have a input on whats going on with our children. Moving to this area from NC I was very much a wear of whats going on not only in my son's school, but also others school. There need to be a group of parents who work to make sure that our children are getting fair things across the board. People here don't questions what is going on with our school and the money that some of our school gets. These Board Members need to get off there high horse come to the school and talk to students, to parents, as well as the staff. Guess you might learn something from them. I feel sorry for some of great teacher here who really love what they are doing. As a parent I have always be apart of my son's school and love to help them in any way I can. Not only work with my son's teachers, but any teachers that ask me to help in any way.These kids are all our kids,at the end of the day. School start soon and for us it a hold new school. If any teachers from my son pass school needed my help I will still go there to help them in any way.

lynn7044
190
Points
lynn7044 07/15/11 - 12:40 am
0
0
Well the first real problem

Well the first real problem is the board members, they need to stop increasing their pay and really do a their job.I have never seen so many lazy board members. You always talking about evaluating our teacher and not let them teach our children. There are some teacher that making learning fun for our children. Let them do what they get paid to do and not to take a state test. Lets go back to giving spelling test so kids can really learn words even in high school. This town talk so much about the magnet school. Why is it that my school tax go to a school that a small staff pick and choose who they want. There are alot of smart kids in Richmond County School,but if you get to hand pick,then yes it should have 100%. If the kids don't meet what the staff want them to do so, then the child is sent back to the home school of the child. So really, is it a real 100% great school. I am sure if the other schools in RCS could send trouble kids somewhere else, they to would all be 100%. Why are the schools not set as lotto just like most magnet schools under federal rules? Why parents not able to come to more meetings and have a input on whats going on with our children. Moving to this area from NC I was very much a wear of whats going on not only in my son's school, but also others school. There need to be a group of parents who work to make sure that our children are getting fair things across the board. People here don't questions what is going on with our school and the money that some of our school gets. These Board Members need to get off there high horse come to the school and talk to students, to parents, as well as the staff. Guess you might learn something from them. I feel sorry for some of great teacher here who really love what they are doing. As a parent I have always be apart of my son's school and love to help them in any way I can. Not only work with my son's teachers, but any teachers that ask me to help in any way.These kids are all our kids,at the end of the day. School start soon and for us it a hold new school. If any teachers from my son pass school needed my help I will still go there to help them in any way.

Reverie
54
Points
Reverie 07/17/11 - 09:54 am
0
0
The only advantage of the

The only advantage of the ipad over the laptop of which all principals and administrators all ready have is lighter weight and connectivity through 3G. Who is going to pay for ongoing 3G (cellular) connectivity? Do they get unlimited texting and data? Does this replace the cell phones those folks all ready have? So now they have a cell phone, a desktop, a laptop and an ipad? And the teachers and kids get?

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