Dr. Robert Blaine is Jackson State University’s interim associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and director of the Global Inquiry Faculty Teaching Seminar. He now has a new credential: Apple Distinguished Educator.
As an ADE, Blaine joins a select group of more than 2,000 education professionals worldwide who are committed to the promise of educational technology to improve teaching and learning. He is one of only a handful of educators to be chosen this year. The Class of 2013 represents a talented cross-section from the education community. Blaine was informed of his selection by Maxx Judd, worldwide program manager for ADE.
“I’m humbled by this award. To my knowledge, there were only 20 higher education people selected worldwide. It’s a significant honor. I think it speaks to the leadership role in innovation that the university is taking, and I’m only one small piece of that,” Blaine said.
Blaine has been on faculty at JSU since 2004. As director of the Quality Enhancement Plan, which is a facet of the university’s accreditation through the Southern Association for Schools and Colleges, he was involved in research a few years ago that gave rise to a plan to improve student learning, Global Education through Analytical Reasoning.
The GEAR plan called for the creation of a learning environment that included newly redesigned courses written as e-texts. After the implementation, educators found that students who owned mobile devices performed at higher levels than students without the devices. Blaine and a team of other JSU faculty and staff worked to level the playing field for all students by launching the 2012 iPad Technology Advantage. As part of the program, the entire JSU freshman class was given an iPad, and the device was integrated into the curriculum. The program also tracks student progress.
“The research showed that students who used mobile devices in the curriculum were already generally academically enhanced. The students we needed to reach the most didn’t have access to the technology, at first,” Blaine said. “Now they do.”
The ADE program began in 1994 when Apple recognized K-12 and higher education pioneers who are using a variety of Apple products to transform teaching and learning in powerful ways. Today, it has grown into a worldwide community of visionary educators and innovative leaders who are doing amazing things with technology in and out of the classroom.
There are now more than 2,000 ADEs worldwide, from the United States to China, New Zealand to Turkey. They gather every year at ADE Institutes and education events around the world, as well as online in the ADE community to collaborate on solutions to the global education challenges of today and tomorrow.