Dr. Plants serves as Assistant Dean, Director of Off-campus Undergraduate Advising, and Assistant Professor. Bob teaches the School of Education’s only technology classes, online and a live lab-based course. While not performing his off-campus duties, he has served as the School of Education’s “webmaster” and on it’ technology committee. At the university level, he has served in the Faculty Senate, on the Committee for Intercollegiate Athletics, the committee for Academic Support services and the Student Retention Committee – Tupelo campus. Bob’s work in technology integration in the K-12 community and teacher education has benefitted through collaborations with Bonnie Bracey-Sutton who formerly worked as President Clinton’s 21 Century Educator and Raymond Rose who formerly was part of the Concord Consortium, a non profit research and development corporation and the lead institution in developing one of the first virtual high schools in the nation. Current interests in technology integration include professional development, STEM, Online learning, supercomputing, and computational thinking.
Dr. Plants returned to the University of Mississippi after serving at the Learning Sciences Research Institute as Senior Research Associate. While at the Institute in Chicago he was involved with studies of best practices of teacher education and technology. In this position, Dr. Plants worked with teacher education programs considered leaders in both teacher education and technology. Through his visits to each participant’s campus and interviews with prominent faculty and administrators, Bob helped develop the methodology for the larger study. Some of the participants included Bankstreet College of Education in New York, NY and Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. Bob served under the leadership of Susan Goldman and Jim Pellegrino, nationally recognized learning scientists, and formerly of the Learning Technology Center at Vanderbilt University.
Before becoming a member of the staff at Learning Sciences Institute of Chicago, IL. Bob served at Vanderbilt University’s Learning Technology Center as Project Coordinator for the school’s Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology Grant (PT3). The grant, national in scope, was responsible for disseminating and helping to implement research on learning and technology into grant activities and the activities of grant partners. In this capacity, Bob assisted with dissemination activities, instructional design for faculty curriculum projects, and as advisor on all grant activities. Bob was instrumental in coordinating the University’s PT3 Grant, grant partners, and grant activities. While at the Learning Technology Group, Bob was under the mentorship of John Bransford, now at the University of Washington. Dr. Bransford was co-author of the 2000 text published by the National Academies, “How People Learn”
Bob began his career as Research Associate in the Center for the Study of Educational Policy at the University of Memphis. One major focus for CREP is to plan and conduct high-quality studies to determine "what works" in schools across the nation. He holds an Ed.D. (2000) in Instructional Design and Technology from the University of Memphis. While at the University of Memphis, Bob was mentored by Dr. Deborah Lowther and Dr. Steven Ross. Dr. Lowther’s work is focused on School restructuring and factors influencing the integration of technology into various learning environments. Dr. Ross served for 17 years as Research Editor for the journal, Educational Technology: Research and Development.