Justice, Isasi Named Mobile Fellows

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Walters State Community College
Walters State Community College has recognized two faculty members as 2014-15 Mobile Fellows.  Candace Justice, assistant professor of developmental reading and writing, and Samantha Isasi, instructor of developmental reading and writing, will each receive a stipend to complete a project using mobile learning tools, including phones and tablets. Throughout the year, the two will share their knowledge with others. The Mobile Fellows program began in 2013 to encourage faculty members to explore using mobile technology to increase student involvement and learning.  “Mobile learning is constantly evolving today. We have many new and exciting ways to engage our students. The Mobile Learning Fellows Program provides incentives and rewards to faculty who use these technologies to increase student learning,” said Dr. Lori Campbell, vice president for academic affairs at Walters State.  “Candace and Samantha are both dedicated faculty members who use innovative ways to increase student success. I am eager to see the results of their work this year,” Campbell said. Justice joined the Walters State staff in 2009 as the coordinator of the English Writing Lab. She moved to the English faculty the following year. She holds both a B.A. (English) and B.S. (education) from Concord University. She also holds a M.A. in English from East Tennessee State University. She teaches primarily at Walters State’s Morristown campus. As her mobile learning project, she is teaching a class using iPads. “Outside of class, students watch lectures and other assignments. Students also take quizzes about the content. When they come to class, we are ready to start writing,” Justice said.  For many students, writing can be a lonely and daunting task. Justice has seen many stare at blank pieces of papers for a class period. Now, with no need for a lecture during class time, writing can become a group activity in the classroom. Students share ideas and encouragement. If a student does have difficulty, Justice is there to help.  “For example, I might give students a paragraph about a possible topic. The group will prepare an outline in class,” Justice said. Isasi, who teaches at the Sevier County Campus, is showing her students how to use smart phones as learning devices. Through apps like QuizUp, Isasi is making grammar a competitive out-of-the-classroom activity. Students review classroom material and take quizzes until the material is mastered. The app randomly pairs students with other people taking the quiz. Sometimes, students challenge each other. Other times, students may find they are competing with English students across the country or even around the world. “A student might come in and say ‘I lost to a student in China, but that’s not going to happen again,’” Isasi said. “Students love their phones. By using apps in teaching, I’m showing them another way to use their phones. I also hope the class is more interesting. They don’t want to hear me lecture on comma splices, but they don’t mind being quizzed on comma splices,” she said.  Walters State Community College began its mobile learning program in 2011, collaborating with the Tennessee Board of Regents Office of Mobilization and Emerging Technology. The college has since become a national leader in the use of mobile learning tools in the classroom.  Walters State is an Apple Distinguished Program, an honor reserved for programs that meet select criteria for innovation, leadership and educational excellence. The college was ranked as No. 3 among tech-savvy community colleges in the 2013 “Digital Community College Survey.” In the picture: Candace Justice, right, and Samantha Isasi