Jackson State University is pleased to announce that is has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School for 2013 to 2015 for its iPad Initiative, which is transforming the learning culture at JSU.
The Apple Distinguished School designation is reserved for institutions that meet criteria for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence, and demonstrate a clear vision of exemplary learning environments.
“We are thrilled to be recognized as an innovative institution that is embracing a 21st century model of teaching and learning,” said JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers.
The selection of Jackson State University as an Apple Distinguished School highlights the university’s success as an innovative and compelling learning environment that engages students and provides tangible evidence of academic accomplishment.
“This designation means Jackson State University is considered a leader in learning communities in the United States,” said Dr. Robert Blaine, who leads JSU’s Cyberlearning Initiative as a special assistant to the provost. “This gives us a recognized platform for the direction of education in the 21st century.”
Now in its second year, JSU’s iPad Initiative provides each freshman with an iPad to discover the power and opportunities available through the technology. Since the launch of JSU’s iPad program, researchers have seen a 7 percent rise in student performance; classroom attendance is up; and students are more engaged in class and working collaboratively. More than 90 percent of students surveyed indicated iPads are enhancing their educational experience. Students said they use iPads for writing, library research, presentations and communicating with professors.
“I thought I would just use it for homework, but I actually use it in class,” said mass communications major Antoneshia Ethel-Ami Ward. “It makes things easier, and I enjoy how I can do my homework and email it to teachers when I’m done.”
Jackson State University’s iPad Initiative is funded by the Mississippi e-Center Foundation. As a result of the program, faculty members teach with digital books they’ve authored, which enables them to customize the curriculum and tie it directly to learning outcomes. Half of JSU faculty members are currently teaching with technology, and by 2015, the entire faculty will be teaching with digital tools.
“We’re now looking at the transformation of our general education core,” said Blaine, who in 2012 was named an Apple Distinguished Educator. “We’re asking a fundamental question: When information is everywhere, what’s the role of the institution?”
As an Apple Distinguished School, Jackson State University joins a select group of institutions including the University of California at Irvine School of Medicine and Seton Hill University.
“This distinction supports our vision to create digital learning models for students of today and the future,” said Dr. James C. Renick, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. “Our students, and the professions they enter after graduation, will reap the rewards of our cyberlearning efforts.”
Jackson State University is continuing to expand its digital resources. In early December, JSU will open a new learning center for faculty in the library called Innovate. The center will facilitate the creation and dissemination of digital content. Also this year, JSU will open an Apple Authorized Campus Store in its Student Center.