Post-Chalkboard Classrooms in Charlotte

How schools balance technology and set guidelines in a digital world


Published:

Students at Charlotte Latin blend classroom technology with a traditional learning environment.

Courtesy of Charlotte Latin

Let’s face it, classrooms today don’t resemble the classrooms of our childhoods. Gone is the chalkboard as the main communication tool. Now students have technology at their fingertips instead of one or two computers in the back of the classroom. While tablets, laptops and the like can certainly benefit and support education, they can also serve as a distraction and deterrent. So how do educators navigate this ever-evolving tech world?

Integrating technology and education in a safe and responsible way is a priority for schools. Many schools have adopted a 1:1 technology program — especially in the upper grades — where each student has their own device.


Balancing Technology and Curriculum Needs

Charlotte Latin School is in the seventh year of its 1:1 iPad program, which now serves students in grades three through 12,” says Alan Becker, educational technology department head at Charlotte Latin School. “In order to blend classroom technology into a traditional learning environment, Charlotte Latin relies on its experienced faculty, key technology personnel, and a robust digital citizenship program. The faculty are supported by Latin’s educational technologists, specialists who help to integrate iPads and other technology into classrooms in ways that enhance student learning without making technology the driver of the curriculum.”

Charlotte Country Day School provides one device per student, but they do not consider themselves a 1:1 technology school. “At Charlotte Country Day, technology is used when it is the right tool for the task within an individual discipline or curriculum,” says Jody Specker, Charlotte Country Day School’s lower school librarian and chair of the digital citizenship (DigCit) committee. “Teachers use technology to deliver content or to aid in instruction as a way to enhance student learning. Students use an array of technologies to read about, research, and examine topics and concepts in every subject area. They are often given the choice of how and when to use technology to record, share or apply what they have learned.”

J.T. Williams Montessori, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools middle and high school, follows a similar right-tool-for-the-task method. “Our philosophy is more of a holistic approach, focused on the whole child. We don’t just focus on the academic development, but also the social and emotional development,” says Sophia Hazlehurst, J.T. Williams’ principal. “In some ways, this age of technology has detached us of human contact with other people, whether student-to-student, student-to-teacher or adult-to-adult. We aren’t anti-technology, but when we use it in the classroom, we try to be intentional in the way we use it and make sure it’s purposeful.”

J.T. Williams is about to take part in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ 1:1 technology initiative. Students previously had access to Chromebooks in their classrooms as needed. As a result of this new initiative where each student will have their own laptop at all times, the school is carefully considering what new guidelines need to be put into place. 

“I don’t really see this as being a complete shift in what we do on a day-to-day basis,” Hazlehurst says. “Our core values are commitment, community, initiative, compassion and responsibility. Those values guide and drive what we do here every day, so as we integrate technology and develop guidelines for appropriate classroom use, we make decisions that represent those values.”

 

Defining and Teaching Digital Citizenship

With classroom use of technology comes the need to discuss and define digital citizenship. 

“Quite simply, I view digital citizenship as an extension of everyday citizenship expectations. Any ‘digital’ policy or guidance is based on expectations for how we expect our students to behave in face-to-face encounters,” says Joe Hernick, Charlotte County Day School’s director of educational technology.

Charlotte Country Day School’s students learn about digital citizenship through Common Sense Media’s curriculum that discusses Internet safety, copyright, privacy, security, cyberbullying and more. 

Charlotte Latin School teaches digital citizenship lessons starting in the third grade and progressing through upper school, with age-appropriate topics discussed at each level. 

“At Charlotte Latin School, we have crafted our own responsible use policy which guides all students to use technology for educational purposes,” Becker says. “This policy empowers students to manage their technology use effectively, while maintaining a healthy campus community in which face-to-face interaction is still essential.”

J.T. Williams follows Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ guidelines that are in place for all schools within the corporation. Students complete an online course on digital citizenship.

 

Creating Groups and Defining Guidelines

For support, education and guidance, each school has created a group specific to their community’s needs. At J.T. Williams, it’s the media and technology advisory council that consists of staff and parents. The council is creating guidelines specific to the school and its Montessori approach, especially with the integration of the 1:1 program.

Charlotte Latin School began the Family Technology Task Force. “The goal of the Family Technology Task Force was to strengthen Charlotte Latin School’s parent-school partnership by identifying resources for parents and by organizing a series of parent education events,” Becker says.

Charlotte Country Day School is starting the fifth year of its DigCit Committee. “We have had parents, students, faculty, staff, and administrators involved in understanding the changing digital landscape to guide our school and shape policy and curriculum. The committee meets approximately three times a year to discuss current trends and research, sharing experiences from all three divisions,” Hernick says. “Having an active DigCit Committee keeps our community current and engaged in the positive aspects of technology, allows us to stay aware of potential trends or tech that might negatively impact our students, and provides a platform for us to keep our citizenship curriculum current.”

In an ever-changing tech world, it can feel overwhelming to try to stay ahead or even keep up with the latest trends and advancements, though each of these schools prioritize finding ways for their students to benefit from appropriate technology use. In the end, as Hazlehurst points out, it’s all about perspective. 

“Technology has a specific place in our day-to-day lives. It’s not the only thing or the big thing. We are here to help students figure out their place in the world and we do that by giving them the resources that will help them on their journey.”

Meagan Church a freelance writer. She lives in Charlotte with her high school sweetheart, three children and a plethora of pets. Connect with her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @mchurchwriter, or visit her website meaganchurch.com.

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July 2020

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Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

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Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

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Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
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Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
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1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
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Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
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Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
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Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
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Website »

More information

Explore the Mint Museum's exhibitions without charge.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road
Mint Museum Uptown, 500 S. Tryon St.
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View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

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This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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View map »


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Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
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More information

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Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
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Cost: $21-$31

Where:
New Hope Baptist Church
2024 Redbud Drive
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Hear live music every Thursday, June 4 through August 13. Bring chairs, blankets, and money for food trucks, beer, wine and sodas. See website for lineup.

Cost: $5 per person (free for members); $5 per car for parking

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
291 Dairy Barn Ln.
Fort Mill, SC
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Website »

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Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Drop off your little ones to explore, play and learn during Music Mondays, Theater Thursdays and Food Fridays. A small snack is provided. Register online.

Cost: $21-$31

Where:
New Hope Baptist Church
2024 Redbud Drive
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $20

Where:
Tiny Blooms Yoga
15905 Brookway Drive
Suite 4106
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Website »

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Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

Cost: $5 per swimmer, max $15 per family

Where:
Goldfish Swim School
13403 S. Ridge Drive
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free admission

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Resident Culture Brewing Company
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Sycamore Brewing
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Cost: Free

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Where:
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More information

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NarroWay Theater
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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Cost: Free

Where:
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100 East Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm, the arcade bar opens to all ages with a parent or guardian present.

Cost: Cost for games

Where:
Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-430-4587
Website »

More information

Live the story of Stephen and the Apostles. Experience the rousing power of ANNO DOMINI: the year of our Lord while enjoying a Greek dinner.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theater
3327 Highway 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Northlake Mall Live 360° Games Court
6801 Northlake Mall Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Northlake Mall
Website »

More information

River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
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Bring chairs and blankets to watch movies in the park. Concessions will be available for purchase. The second Saturday of the month, May through September with a Halloween special on Oct. 17. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Stowe Park
24 S. Main St.
Belmont, NC
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This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
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Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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See the original, Broadway-style dinner show, and experience the story of Stephen and the Apostles. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC
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Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
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This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
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Annual Guides

G.P.S. [Go.Play.See]

Your guide to raising kids in the Queen City, plus our 2019 Readers' Favorites for places to play, explore and learn with the kids.

Education Guide

A comprehensive guide to independent, private, charter and public schools in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Union and York counties.
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