Middlesboro Independent Schools (MIS) is in the process of installing a new wireless system that will create a dense wireless network. This project will place a wireless access point in every classroom in each school, providing a seamless and reliable connection. The original cost of the system surpasses $190,000 but with E-rate funding, the district is only out-of-pocket $28,000.
Approximately 300 Chromebooks have been added to the elementary, middle, and high school. These have been placed in mobile labs to enhance the current classroom curriculum. The mobile labs help provide students access to supplementary software programs such as Study Island, IXL, and DreamBox. With the accessibility of Chromebooks, many teachers are moving toward using Google classroom for a blended learning platform that aims to simplify creating, distributing, and grading assignments in a paperless way.
Students also have additional access to technology through the use of iPads in their classrooms. Many of these have been funded through the Appalachian Renaissance Initiative or GEAR UP. Students use iPads for a variety of purposes such as research, film production, and other supplemental programs. This additional technology is also used for online testing such as MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) and STAR 360 which teachers use to chart student progress.
In 2006, MIS joined a partnership with Dataseam. Dataseam provides students and teachers with computers in coal counties throughout the state. MIS earned 508 iMac computers directly from Dataseam for educational purposes. These additional workstations have allowed computer labs to be formed and provided student learning centers within the classroom.
These 508 machines form a computing grid of nearly 14,000 workstations in 42 school systems statewide, the largest of its kind on the planet. While students and teachers see these computers for only educational purposes, what they don’t realize is that cancer research is being conducted in the background of these workstations as they work. According to Brian Gupton, Dataseam CEO, “This provides the Brown Cancer Center the ability to do 6 years of cancer research in a single morning.” Dataseam provides a win-win situation for our students and for cancer research. In addition to these benefits, the University of Louisville and Morehead State University provide scholarships to students in Dataseam schools to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Education.