The Northeast Mississippi Community College was named one of only a handful of Apple Distinguished Schools, marking only the eighth college or university to receive the designation.
After the Northeast Mississippi Community College (NEMCC) implemented a new initiative called oNE Northeast, every student was required to purchase an iPad for use throughout the entirety of their education there. The initiative was introduced to reduce the cost of textbooks and engage more with the students in the classroom.
The initiative worked. NEMCC saw nearly $6 million in savings from textbooks alone. Student grades also saw a benefit, with students' work raising the average from 72% to 80%.
There are 470 Apple Distinguished Schools, in 35 countries, only eight of which are a college or university. NEMCC is the only college in Mississippi to have received the designation.
"This is a great day for Northeast," NEMCC President Ford said to the local Daily Journal. "The big thing is it not only brings recognition to our institution, but here's the thing — it brings recognition to our faculty at Northeast Mississippi Community College. Our faculty, along with all the other departments, our faculty are the heart and soul of this institution."
Apple's own national development executive, Dr. Jon Landis, spoke on behalf of Apple.
"This award was developed quite a while ago to recognize schools that were executing on their mission, delivering on their vision, that happen to be using Apple technologies," Landis said. "They're distinguished because we get to learn from them."
"Apple has learned so much from this institution's work over the past four years," Landis also stated. "I wanted to take a moment to personally thank you from the highest levels of Apple."
What makes an educational institution an Apple Distinguished School
Apple labels a school as distinguished when they have met the following minimum requirements for two years.
- The school must have a one-to-one device to student/teacher ratio, be it iPad or Mac. The students must be using the Apple device as their primary learning device, and the teacher using the device as their primary teaching device.
- The curriculum must have integrated Apple apps and third party education apps from the App Store.
- Seventy-five percent of teachers must be recognized as certified Apple Teachers. To become certified a teacher must complete the Apple Teachers program. Some schools run the courses in 8 to 16 week intervals to certify teachers in iPad, Mac, or both.
- Applicants for the designation must have provable results documented over a school year. Students should have seen an improvement because of the curriculum and Apple technology involved.
After meeting the minimum requirements, the school can contact Apple for evaluation for the award. Once awarded the school can use the designation for the three following years. Continued use must be re-evaluated during the three year term.
More information can be found on Apple's education website. There you can find details about all 470 schools with the designation.