For Immediate Release: March 24, 2021
JACKSON, Miss. – More than 2,700 Mississippi educators have registered for the Mississippi Connects Virtual Summit on digital learning this week, which is centered around the purposeful integration of technology.
Participants are taking part in sessions from the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) and partners on a variety of topics including student engagement and best practices for hybrid and online instruction and learning. Partners include FriEdTechnology, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Intel, Schoology, and Canvas.
The digital learning summit is part of MDE’s Mississippi Connects initiative, which is a comprehensive digital learning program providing computers and teaching and learning support to every public-school student in the state. Mississippi is the only state in the nation with a digital learning initiative that includes computer devices for students and teachers, software to deliver instruction, enhanced internet connectivity, professional development for digital teaching and learning, and access to telehealth/teletherapy.
The Mississippi Legislature allocated $200 million for Mississippi Connects through two laws, the Equity in Distance Learning Act (SB 3044) and the Mississippi Pandemic Response Broadband Availability Act (HB 1788). Last fall, the MDE facilitated the purchase of more than 390,000 computer devices for Mississippi students and teachers.
“Mississippi students have made tremendous gains in recent years. We want to ensure they have the tools and resources to continue to build upon their academic successes and are equipped to excel in a digitally advanced workforce,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “We have moved into the next phase of Mississippi Connects, which is focused on building the capacity of educators to deliver high-quality digital instruction.”
Along with the Mississippi Connects Virtual Summit and other professional development opportunities, the MDE is hiring a team of digital learning instructional coaches to help teachers, schools and districts effectively use educational technology and improve student outcomes statewide.