(Jackson, MS) – Jackson State University has donated 50 iPads to Blackburn Middle School and completed an initiative to make the school wireless.
Blackburn Principal Justin Green thanked more than two dozen JSU officials during an event Tuesday, Feb. 11, celebrating the mobile partnership.
Green said the JSU administration, faculty and staff invested “time and support to make Blackburn Middle School a success. Our school could be one of the top middle schools in the nation.”
Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Cedrick Gray called JSU a “trailblazer” in the city for its efforts to bolster the school, which became a JSU laboratory school in 2013.
JSU Provost James C. Renick, College of Education and Human Development Dean Dr. Daniel Watkins and Dr. Deborah Dent, JSU vice president of Information Technology, were among numerous university officials on hand for the event that featured a demonstration of students using the wireless technology.
“This effort goes beyond a piece of paper and a point beyond rhetoric,” Renick said, referring to the university’s commitment to Blackburn.
The initiative was implemented to provide a robust wireless infrastructure throughout the school building, allowing students the ability to be connected to hosted learning applications and access to the Internet. Collaboration among students can now occur anywhere on school grounds with the proper technology device.
“We were able to get the infrastructure in place so students would have a chance to collaborate and the teachers would be able to work with students in a seamless environment,” said Dent.
Watkins said he’s excited about the project.
“I’m enjoying the collaboration between Jackson State University and Jackson Public Schools and the support of President (Carolyn) Meyers and JPS Superintendent Gray,” said Watkins. “The president and provost have provided support by way of a project manager who will be hired by Jackson State and located in the Blackburn building.”
Minuette Holden, an eighth-grade technology teacher, told the gathering the students in her class were using wireless capability to set their high school schedule from ninth-grade to 12th. That information is provided to the state Department of Education. She said there were numerous other classroom usages for the technology.
“We research (on the computer). We learn life skills,” Holden said. “They’re basically getting ready for high school.”
JSU faculty and researchers are working with Blackburn faculty and administrators to create a laboratory school where excellence in education theory and practice can be observed, studied and utilized.
The school provides clinical experience for JSU students, creating a living laboratory for research and applied practices to improve teaching.