Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Education On Demand..... Within Your Hands

Dr. Robbie K. Melton
I recently had the opportunity to meet Dr. Robbie K. Melton who is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Mobilization and Emerging Technology for the Tennesseee Board of Regents (mTBR) and a well known "Appologist."

Robbie oversees mobilization strategies and initiatives for the sixth largest statewide system of public higher education in the country: mTBR serves students enrolled in 46 institutions throughout the state (six state universities, 27 technology centers for technical/vocational education, and all of the state's 13 community colleges).

A significant part of her function is to study technology and its current and future application on education. More specifically, mTBR seeks new innovations in emerging technologies, social networking, gaming, simulations, amd virtual worlds for the purpose of increasing recruiting, retention, graduation rates and to improve teaching, learning, and workforce development. TBR creates teams that are composed of staff, faculty, students, administrators, and industry partners who are tasked with working on specific problems related to both mobile technology and its use in an education context.

Robbie and her staff are provided with the latest technology and a classroom evaluation is conducted to determine how students interact with the devices (the evaluation also includes general usability, ADA, durability, and security issues). Besides students, they provide support to instructors and staff as well. I think it's an interesting that Robbie noted that a "digital divide" exists between student and instructor, but it's typically the instructor that has the out-dated mobile device.

Now for the exciting part.... TBR maintains a mobile app resource center that points to extensive collections for education: 70,000 apps and counting. The site is easy to navigate with drop-down menus for the type of app, mobile device, academic area, workforce cluster, etc. The site also provides ratings for mobile devices and has a plethora of videos and presentations as additional resources.

Robbie is a dynamic speaker that has a passion for not only educational technology, but for it's application. I hate to say it, because I like my job, but I think Robbie has one of the coolest jobs in education. Don't you agree?

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