Thursday, November 12, 2009

iPods coming to DeKalb?

As reported in today's AJC, in an article entitled, Grants launch algebra by iPod, three DeKalb schools are poised to receive handheld devices for use by students in some AP classrooms.

"As envisioned by state officials, these devices would be the primary, everyday learning tool of students in class and at home. Class projects, homework and research reports will all go digital."

"'Do you know the Jetsons? This is George and [Jane’s] world,' said Mindy DiSalvo, assistant director of grants and community programs for the DeKalb County school system. DeKalb is one of 47 systems awarded grants in the first round of funding approved last week by state school board members. The system, which won $193,740, will hand out iPods and netbooks (mini laptops) to about 300 students at three high schools; Cross Keys, Stone Mountain and MLK Jr., next semester.

"The DeKalb students are enrolled in Advanced Placement biology or chemistry classes, where rote textbook lessons and experiments can be expanded and enlivened. “We’re going to say to them, ‘You’ve got the iPods and netbooks. Now find six research institutions across the country doing cell division,” said DiSalvo, who wrote DeKalb’s winning grant proposal. DeKalb will insure the devices against loss or damage, and teachers will be able to monitor how the devices are used."

"State officials expect a second round of grants to be recommended for at least 10 more systems, probably in January. The devices must be given to students no later than March 1, with pilot programs at each school expected to run at least through the 2010-11 school year."

Visit this link at the AJC to read the rest of the article.


Anonymous said...

Three guesses on which schools do and don't get these

Anonymous said...

Well, if it's Lakeside, they won't get a signal anyway. (LHS is in a dead zone for all carriers except T-Mobile!)

Anonymous said...

Good point. Will this lead to DCSS changing their policy on cell towers on school property? This could generate some much needed income.

Dekalbparent said...

"The system, which won $193,740, will hand out iPods and netbooks (mini laptops) to about 300 students at three high schools; Cross Keys, Stone Mountain and MLK Jr., next semester."

Anonymous said...

There is mixed reviews on cell towers at school facilities. IF there is even a small chance of nay danger we should not have cell phones around schools. It does not matter how much money the school system can get. The safety of our children should always be first.

Anonymous said...

I am glad to see Cross keys got these.

Anonymous said...

You don't need a cell tower...these are iPods, not phones. All you need is a WiFi signal, which can be set up easily by anyone with a wireless router.

themommy said...

I am very pleased to see these going to schools other than the usual suspects.

Paula Caldarella said...

Does Cross Keys even have the technology for wireless access? Maybe it was part of the new Cross Keys Technical School?

Anonymous said...

I have used these in a school setting and they really are not as good as computers or laptops. The students had perfer to listen to music on them also. Again the idea is nicer than the use of the item actually is.

Paula Caldarella said...

Speaking of Cross Keys Technical School, I noticed on my child's selection course document that several courses at Cross Keys were provided as electives, Auto Service, Computer Information Services, Construction, Cosmetology, Dental Assisting and Health Technology. Does DCSS provide transportation for this?

Cerebration said...

Yes. They always have, DM. This is the High School of Technology North that used to be next to Perimeter College and has merged in with Cross Keys. (In trailers.) The old building was traded to GPC for the property to build the new Dunwoody ES.

Students from area high schools can take these courses (or at least they could back in the day when we offered a tech diploma) and a bus would transport them from their home HS to the HSTN. (Or the HSTS - if you live in south DeKalb.) Nowadays, they say they are trying to offer "career" tech at every high school. But the HSTN offered automotive, etc that can't be offered many places (costly).

It's a joke really. The building is a crumbling mess. The HSTN students are now housed in modulars. And the rest of Cross Keys has basically not had anything done to it. So they merged HSTN into the worst facility we own - subjecting even more students to this ridiculous environment. (Did you see Kim's photo of the mystery mold on the floors?)

I just don't understand why on earth their board rep isn't ranting all over about this travesty!

greenie said...

LOL - I have TMobile and that whole stretch of Briarcliff Road is mostly a dead zone. I'd be shocked if my phone worked around Lakeside.

Unless the teachers are prepared to effectively use the iPods as a teaching tool, the technology is wasted (telling kids to look something up is a fraction of how such technology should be used)
Seems to me like an expensive experiment. I hope it works, but figure if they're handed out by March 1 - oh, what is that, 9 weeks before school ends -- those iPods will be leaving school for the summer - never to be seen again. Ditto the laptops.
how much do you think this program will cost to insure? At least half the value of the items, I bet.
(sorry, hate to be so negative, but I can't help myself - the more I know about DCSS, the less confident I feel about anything that could lead to innovation and cost-savings, or be construed as putting education first)

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom, why do you call it Cross Keys Technical School? Sounds condescending and snobbish.

From one who has a lot a stake in the academics at Cross Keys High School.

Anonymous said...

Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!

Paula Caldarella said...

Dunwoody Mom, why do you call it Cross Keys Technical School? Sounds condescending and snobbish.

From one who has a lot a stake in the academics at Cross Keys High School.

Because that is what it was referred to on my child's class selection form.

Cerebration said...

No kidding? Is this a form that was handed out to all high schools? Are they still allowing students to ride a bus over for half-days at Cross Keys (the portion that used to be HSTN?) I think parents should start requesting tours of the program so they can consider signing up -- lots and lots of Dunwoody parents need to request a tour of Cross Keys "Technical School"... It really will take all of us to get something done over there. Can you rally the troops, DM?

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight...we have issues with kids getting a cheese sammie but will provide students with ipods?

Paula Caldarella said...

cere, I would assume that all schools utilize the same type of course selection form - just tailored to the specific school's offerings. The forms for Dunwoody can also be viewed via the school's website.

Also, in reading the DHS announcements - the section where the college visits for the month are listed, it indicates that a representative from Cross Keys Technical School will be visiting Dunwoody on November 17th. So, perhaps DCSS is putting together a "marketing plan" for Cross Keys Technical School? Seems like a good idea.

Paula Caldarella said...

This was in the recent DHS newsletter:

Several career/technology classes which were formerly at DeKalb High School of Technology - North are now at Cross Keys High School. These classes include: Automotive Service Technology, Computer Information Technology, Construction Technology, Cosmetology, Dental Science Technology, Healthcare Science Technology Education and Work Based Learning.These classes are available to students at the feeder high schools: Chamblee, Clarkston, Druid Hills, Dunwoody, Lakeside, Elizabeth Andrews, Stone Mountain and Tucker High Schools. A wing at Cross Keys High School is presently under renovation to house state of the art labs equipped for industry certification.

Cross Keys technical classes offer an excellent educational opportunity for high school students in the DeKalb County School System. Students can take advantage of laboratories equipped with the latest technology at no additional cost.These programs appeal to a diverse group of students: the college bound students who have chosen careers, but want to get ahead; the college bound students who work to help defray the expense of a college education; the students who do not plan to attend college, but want to learn marketable skills that will enable them to be successful in employment; and the students uncertain about a career, but would like to explore a variety of career options.

Students select the program that interests them. Half of the day is spent in the Technical Classes at Cross Keys High School. The remainder of the day is spent at their home school. Bus transportation is provided to and from the home schools. Students must be 16 years old by October 1st of the school year they enroll in the classes.

Students should see their school counselor for a brochure and to register for these classes. Call Mrs. Sanders at 678-874-6146 for more information.

Cerebration said...

Yes, this is the same program as they had at HSTN, except, that it's been severely hampered by the move to Cross Keys. Although they say that a wing is under construction, there has been very little action on that wing. Students are housed in modulars on the tennis courts.

Everyone who speaks with the rep on Nov 17th, please ask him or her to give you a tour of the facilities (be sure to check out the restrooms) before you consider sending your child over to the Cross Keys program. Then write a letter to Dr. Lewis and the board about what you see.

Cerebration said...

BTW - thanks for sharing that, DM.

Anonymous said...

Tech School is touring region 1 and 4 to recruit registrants. Yes, still busses provided. They have dealt with the delay in their facility creatively (4th wing was supposed to be ready for this year) by partnering with auto service centers and even plan to use facilities at Tech South. They are hampered significantly by the modular classrooms which cannot support needed equipment. This program will be an enormous asset to our region and I encourage all to support it in any way you can.

Regrding the grant, this includes netbooks and will be implemented by CKHS Science Dept in conjunction with promethean boards. The AP kids are some of the best in County/State and we have the only 2 in DeKalb working at Emory on research projects with Dr. Coursey. Trust me, the equipment will be put to very good use!

Our school has the highest Title I % in the County, I believe. I am sure we have the highest number of ELL students. What is accomplished at CKHS in spite of obstacles should be the subject of a case study. Just wait and see what they do with this opportunity! - Kim G.

Anonymous said...

"DeKalb is one of 47 systems awarded grants in the first round of funding approved last week by state school board members. The system, which won $193,740, will hand out iPods and netbooks (mini laptops) to about 300 students at three high schools; Cross Keys, Stone Mountain and MLK Jr., next semester." Good job Dr. DiSalvo! Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I understand the beneficial use of netbooks, but iPods? What good can iPods bring to the classroom except more distractions for students (i.e. music, games and applications)

Kim Gokce said...

If my true colors as a Nerd, 1st Class, haven't yet been revealed ...

While I understand concerns about an iPod being a "toy" and a distraction, the fact is that it encapsulates the highest evolution of technology products mass marketed to-date. Netbooks aren't likely to contain embedded GPS receivers, nor accelerometer hardware - both very useful in science experiments and demonstrations.

These are very powerful computing devices have a capacity far beyond that of computers that sat in research laboratories not that many years ago. I was completely geeked out to discover that I could broadcast live my Global Positioning Satellite-determined location during every step of a recent charity walk using only my silly little at&t mobile phone. Star Trek's "tricorder" is not here yet but it's ancestors are now available for $49 at your local wireless store.

Besides, "playing" with technology is probably one of the objectives of the grant. Games are serious business and have lead the way in the evolution of human interaction with technology. Nerds like myself grew up in awe of the fact that a few pixels on a TV screen could act like a primitive "tennis racket" in the ancient game of Pong. Now, "techie" games like Wii bring live action tennis matches to your living room and with Rock Band your family can pretend to be the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl, working up a sweat with instruments in hand.

Every self respecting nerd out there will admit that they played with technology as much as they "studied" it to gain expertise.

As a technology professional, the first thing I want to do with any new device or software application before taking it seriously is "to play around with it" to determine quickly the quality of its implementation.

If you haven't noticed, technologies like those found in iPod are becoming ubiquitous in our society for every purpose - personal and professional. Exposing these young people to directed lessons, and even "free play," using these types of technologies will be very good for their development.

Again, trust me, these amazing young people and their faculty will find much more interesting things to do with their new "toys" than watch music videos.

Sorry for the nerdy rant but there is no way access to these tools is anything less than a huge opportunity for our kids - many of whom do not own a cell phone.

Cerebration said...

To Twittify Kim's rant --

iPods are the wave of the future man-keep up or get out of the way. The more comfortable you are with the latest gizmo, the more you can absorb what the world has to offer.

Kim Gokce said...

Thank you, Cerebration, for the translation - I really need to be more economical with words. But then ...

Another after thought about iPod ... even if you haven't held one in your hands, you may have seen in commercials the handset car racing application that allows you to "steer" by simply rotating the iPhone/iPod along the horizontal. Just challenging the kids to explain how that is technically possible would be an incredible lesson in mathematics, mechanics, and engineering that they would never forget.

Anonymous said...

If these Ipods and netbooks turn out to be a waste, so what. At least the kids enjoyed them.

How many students will benefit from the 14,000,000 Crawford Lewis has wasted on legal fees.

How many para could have been added to the classrooms for this money?

How much renovations could have been done to Crossskeys for this money?

How much of this money would it have taken to build a brand new Crosskeys High School?

How much of this money could hsve gone to bus transportation for the scholars in the magnet programs whose bus services ahve been terminated?

If this grant does not meet its marked intended purpose, I am okay with it for the students benefited from it.

Cerebration said...

Google the subject, iPods in the classroom - you'll be amazed and how many schools are already using this technology.

For example,
"School CIO - iPods in the Classroom

According to Robert Craven, education technology coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education in California, iPods offer astounding possibilities for education.

And for some example lessons go to
Tranform Your Classroom with an iPod

And from Apple -
Get them learning anywhere.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the info. I dont have a problem with the Ipods, just playing "Devil's Advocate" to those who have reservations regarding the benefits. LOL!

Anonymous said...

Isnt Kim a Crosskey parent?

Anonymous said...


Reading up on ARRA funding. If correct this is the stimulus money that DCSS received that Crawford Lewis used to create more non teaching positions at the administrative building? Is this correct?

Cerebration said...

This is ARRA funding - called Title II-D - but it's awarded through the states by competitive grant applications -- no grant writer - no money. Besides, I think we've had a grant writer on staff (and obviously should) for years.

Distribution of Title IID ARRA Funds

According to the US Department of Education's Guidance Document on administering the Title IID (EETT) program, a state may award up to 100 percent of Title IID funds on a competitive basis.

Part D — Enhancing Education Through Technology


And technically, Kim won't have a child at Cross Keys for about 10 years - but he's paving the way for his kid and his community to have an excellent school by then. Wish we could clone Kim - we need so many more people like him!

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, the IPod plan is intriguing, but if they have to be collected at the end of the school year, that's not going to happen. And you have to keep it from being just a music and game downloader. The games and other app's are amazing these days, and I don't know how I could resist them if I was a student (compare Atari and Intellivision to this stuff today!!!).

Cerebration said...

Well, you may not have noticed, but these are only going to be used for AP classes... much more controllable.

Kim Gokce said...

For those interested, regarding the iPods use - a blurb from AJC's article that did not pub on their site for some reason:

"Here are a few examples of what students will do:

Compare and contrast trends in the chemical and physical properties of elements and their placement on the periodic table.

Create multimedia presentations including video and audio in the analysis of literature and history.

Research topics for essay writing as well as practice analyzing such pieces of literature as poetry and historical speeches. Connect instantly to current events worldwide using online media sources.

Interactive discussion boards among students and/or experts that can be monitored by instructors. Essay organizer and step-by-step planner to build critical writing skills in all content areas.

Use probeware with the devices to conduct scientific investigations."

... in short, wow! This is going to be not only newsworthy but really an exciting effort for the AP kids at CKHS!

@Cere: " ... clone Kim ..."

Forget the moral and ethical questions; a really, really bad idea! Besides, who could feed all of us?