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    Technology Solutions to Live and Learn By

    Friday, February 28, 2014

    Technology Solutions to Live and Learn By

    February 28, 2014

    Imagine you are a healthcare practitioner treating a hearing impaired patient in rural Pennsylvania, where sign language interpreters are few and far between.  So to gather critical information about his irregular heartbeat, you whip out your iPad and pull up Sign 4 Me, a nifty application that acts as a virtual, on-the-spot interpreter.  Before long, you have finished your clinical assessment and are formulating a treatment plan, which includes remotely monitoring his vital signs via smartphone once he’s released from the hospital. You are also going to send him home with another terrific app called MyFitnessPal, which will help him take greater control over his diet and exercise.    

    http://www.drexel.com/uploadedImages/robbiemelton1.jpg

    Welcome to the brave new world of m-technology – a world that Dr. Robbie Melton has a big hand in creating from her vantage point as Associate Vice Chancellor of eLearning and Emerging Mobilization Technology for the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR).  

    Recently, we had the tremendous pleasure of welcoming Dr. Melton to our campus, where she spent the day sharing her considerable knowledge about the cutting-edge field of study she has appropriately dubbed app-ology. In fact, as a self-described app-ologist, she provides the TBR’s 47 institutions and more than 190,000 students with an unparalleled opportunity to improve academic outcomes, while reducing campus costs, by test-driving new mobile devices and educational apps before ever purchasing them.  

    Put simply, Dr. Melton’s mission is to leverage these technologies for teaching, learning, and communication, in a way that helps bridge the gap between academic and work life.  In fulfilling it, she and her team of educators have curated a collection of more than 70,000 of them (in 125 academic disciplines) according to product specifications, potential utility, and ADA compliance.  To make this information readily available, she has also developed a user-friendly e-catalog, which is automatically updated as new products are vetted.   

    It’s no wonder that with a network like this one, Dr. Melton has become a major player in the vast m-tech arena, with some of the biggest companies around – including Apple, Samsung, and Dell – eagerly sending their latest applications and devices for her meticulous review.  And given the sheer scope of this endeavor, she is always willing to enlist the help of other dedicated scholars – an invitation she has enthusiastically issued to Drexel faculty, staff, and students.  

    Thus, in the coming weeks, I will be assembling a team of university volunteers to weigh in on new mobile apps – some recently released; others still on the drawing board – after putting them through their paces.  Dr. Melton will then forward this feedback to product developers, while also entering it into the TBR database.  At the same time, she will provide our university with open access to her “catalog of goodies,” an invaluable resource in our quest to lead the field in technology-enhanced education.   

    As this is the first in what I hope will be a long line of collaborative efforts between Drexel University Online and other like-minded institutions, we will keep you posted on our progress.  In the meantime, I encourage you to check out a dynamite app (courtesy of Dr. Melton’s collection) that serves as a gateway to more than four million eBooks, many of which are free.   Produced by Kobo, it can be downloaded at no charge through the company’s website:  www.kobobooks.com


     

    Dr. Susan Aldridge is President of Drexel University Online and Senior Vice President of Online Learning at Drexel University. For more information on Dr. Aldridge, please visit: www.drsusanaldridge.com


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