WSCC talks technology at Leadership Academy

Posted on Monday, July 28, 2014 at 11:33 am

Walters State Community College was host to more than 100 educators from 23 different campuses across Tennessee for the 2014 TBR mEngage Leadership Academy this past week on the Morristown Campus.

The event was sponsored by the Tennessee Board of Regents and Walters State, who each have been recognized nationally for their use of mobilization tools to increase learning in the classroom.

“Five years ago when iPads and tablets came around we noticed a big change in the classroom,” said Dr. Robby Melton, TBR vice chairman. “Students were bringing them in and they were texting and doing social networking but nothing with education. So we started to check around with faculty and educational companies and they didn’t have any apps or they weren’t really engaged in a vision of using these as teaching and learning tools.”

Melton said she began to curate apps and look at apps to see which ones would be useful for certain classes.

“And (we) started looking at ways of using mobile devices as teaching and learning tools,” Melton said. “So with that we start getting all sorts of devices and we bring them here and see how they interact in terms of the network, bringing down e-books. Walters State was the school to step up and say let’s look at this strategically.”

Melton said they began by training faculty members, then having a group called to look at new apps coming out and start a website and training to help faculty members.

“With that Apple recognized them to be one of the first community colleges as an Apple Distinguished Program campus,” she said. It is a recognition the college has received twice.

One of the topics discussed during the three-day seminar was a new mobile textbook delivery system to be implemented by Walter State.

Melton said e-textbooks will be much more affordable, and when there are updates to the books, students will be able to simply update their e-book rather than having to buy a new edition.

There were also seminars that discussed redefining classroom layouts to accommodate mobilization tools and the role gaming has within academics.

“Our students are using more Android devices and our faculty is using more Apple products. Well, in a classroom we need the ability to use all. So today I demonstrated a new application called Nearpod where a faulty member can walk in and regardless of the device the faculty member can share their information on all the devices (in the classroom). That’s a new type of engagement.”

Jeffrey Horner, Dean of Biology at WSCC, emphasized the use of mobilization products in the classroom.

“Ninety-four percent of our faculty is using iPads in the classroom to teach our kids,” Horner said. “We have more than 1,200 iPads on campus that students have access to.”

Horner said modern technology allows students easier access to knowledge.

“With the technology we have, 20 years ago I was a face on stage, I had all the knowledge,” Horner said. “Nowadays kids can Google a YouTube video of the same lecture. If you have a question in class, we’d have to say, ‘Well, we’ll get back to you on that,’ and now we say, ‘Google it,’ so it’s a technology that allows students to be life long learners.”

-By Aletheia Davidson, Tribune Staff Writer

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