Professors Invent Apps to Help Education

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Press Release – Arkansas State University

JONESBORO — Inventors and Arkansas State University faculty members Dr. Ralph Ruby, Jr. and Dr. Paula D. Ruby have developed new applications for The A-State Academic Championship series that will help reduce student college expenses using a competitive tournament learning strategy.

The A-State Academic Championship Series, which includes both the A-State Academic Keyboarding Championship (iPad) and the A-State Academic Texting Championship (iPhone), provide competitive gaming strategies to help increase keyboarding/texting skills and to provide A-State Bucks to aid in reducing financial needs of students attending Arkansas State while contributing to their educational growth. The funding of the A-State Bucks is by sponsorship.

The application A-State Keyboarding Champ can be downloaded on an iPad and A-State Texting Champ on an iPhone from the Apple App Store. The applications are in the App Store and are available for download free of charge. The following are the URL’s that may be used by individuals so they may go directly to each A-State Championship Series app — for A-State Academic texting champ: https://itunes.apple.com/app/id971778748. For A-State Academic keyboarding champ: https://itunes.apple.com/app/id972159584.

“The idea was mentioned at Dean Shane Hunt’s first College of Business faculty meeting in 2014,” stated Ralph Ruby, Jr., professor of computer and information technology and director of business technology programs. “He had said one of his top priorities was to help reduce the cost of students attending A-State. Following the meeting, Paula and I visited and came to the conclusion that we also believed strongly about helping students reduce their A-State college expense.”

“I am thankful our students will be able to participate for free in a fun and dynamic competition that allows them to earn prizes toward reducing the financial burden of being a college student,” added Hunt. “I am also very appreciative for the great work Ralph and Paula have done in creating this app and for the generous corporate sponsors who are supporting our A-State students through this competition.”

The Rubys, who were granted a patent in 2015 for the invention of a mobile device translator for decoding, knew it was important the applications specifically make a meaningful contribution in helping the students in the educational areas of communications, calculating and note-taking. It also helps students in the initial employment application process using texting and emails.

The pair found employers cite the following five major reasons for using texting and emails in the employment process: (1) people are glued to their mobile phones, (2) it is a personalized approach to recruiting, (3) texting is faster and more efficient than email, (4) 75 percent of the candidate pool cannot respond to calls and (5) texting presents a unique opportunity for seamless follow-up.

“From our research and association with college-age students, we know our approach, to be successful, must center on the use of mobile devices, both the iPad and iPhone,” said Paula, professor of computer and information technology. “We also know from our research in the area of learning strategies the number-one selling group of apps being games is the best strategy to implement a competitive academic gaming strategy. When we researched approaches to use on the funding side we discovered advertising was the best approach.”

However, the Rubys questioned how to incorporate fundraising advertising without interfering with competitors during a game or tournament. This meant the traditional method of interfering with whatever the user is doing to flash an advertisement on the monitor was not an option. They finally decided to use tournament sponsorship because it fits into user academic competitive gaming strategy without interfering with competitors during games and tournaments.

“To the best of our knowledge, this type of advertising strategy has not been used in this manner previously for what we are attempting to accomplish,” added Ralph. “In addition, we wanted to have our concept transportable so other educational entities could easily incorporate our concept worldwide. By having other educational entities involved opens the possibility for helping additional students financially around the world and increased competitive gaming competition.

“It also opened the door to competition at different levels, such as university conference championships and university national championships hosted by Arkansas State. It is absolutely conceivable we would host an international university championship.”

He went on to say these same-type championships can be available for two-year institutions as well. At the secondary level, there can be conference championships, state championships and a national championship. All of these are possible with vision, research, support, hard work and mobile technology from any remote location in the world.

In addition to the many awards available while playing the apps and the award of A-State Bucks to reduce a student’s college expenses, crystal trophies with winner names and other important identifying data will be on display in the College of Business foyer in its trophy case to represent winners of each championship in the A-State Academic Championship Series. Nancy Nicholson, owner of Lyons Engraving and Framing, donated the trophies.

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