FAU Broward Campuses - Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Victoria Brown

Sunday, Oct 01, 2023
Dr. Victoria Brown

Professor | College of Education

Dr. Victoria Brown has been a member of the Florida Atlantic faculty for 18 years. She started in the summer of 2005, training Broward County teachers how to use technology in the classrooms. At the time, that included how to use the internet! Now, she is a professor for the College of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, teaching graduate courses in instructional technology for both educational and training professionals. She also teaches preservice teachers how to integrate technology in the classroom to help manage classroom activities, communication and enhanced instructional activities.

"I just love watching my students catch my excitement," Dr. Brown said. "I enjoy motivating people to be the best that they can be. Sharing my enthusiasm with them and watching them take off and reach their highest potential is such a gift."

Dr. Brown says that one of the best things about her job is that there are so many opportunities for her to bump into her former students. She’ll often see them at a conference and most of the time, it’s the first time she is interacting with them in person, since her classes are 100% virtual.

"It’s always so wonderful to catch up with my former students. We chat about our time together and also share the impact of our current research," she said. "it’s so refreshing to see them thrive outside of the classroom and beyond."

And while Dr. Brown enjoys teaching in her online platform, there are some aspects of technology that just work better firsthand. So, last year, on top of researching new and innovative ways to prepare preservice teachers for the classroom, she also worked with other professors to create a day of hands-on learning, called "Robotics Day".

In the ever-evolving world of technology, it’s becoming more apparent that a basic understanding of coding will be a necessary skill for future employment. Educational robotics act as a bridge with little coding knowledge to teaching computational skills. Students can practice these skills by solving problems with their robots using visual or block coding snippets. Educational robots are fun to build and operate. At the same time, students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and practice creativity while working on teams with their robots.

"Robotics is an easy fun entry into coding for teachers who have little knowledge about writing coding," said Dr. Brown. "And the best way to engage teachers and show them how they can incorporate computational skills is in the classroom. We received a couple robots through some generous grants and this concept of robotics day was born."

This year, Robotics Day will be on November 8th and Dr. Brown is excitedly planning a full event of hands-on activities including interactive stations, engaging with easy to program robots and meeting robotic educators who will share classroom integration of computational and coding skills ideas.

Dr. Brown is also working on an app that will compliment e-learning systems using AI (Artificial Intelligence) to help build self-regulatory skills for students. In this capacity, it would allow students to be rewarded for staying on track, provide a platform where they can gauge their progress and gain some control of their learning journey. Aside from building content, there’s a large emotional language database that must be built to ensure what is being posted is safe for students and that all safety measures are in place for reporting and resolving any issues.

"My work will never really be done," Dr. Brown said with a smile. "It’s always changing and advancing. And that’s what intrigues me about technology."

And while Dr. Brown will always be an advocate for access to technology and distance learning, she hopes to find time to travel in the future. She’s actually quite the history buff and seeing the pyramids in Mexico and Egypt would be one of the biggest highlights of her life! In her free time, Dr. Brown indulges in various "creative releases" like cross-stitching, embroidery and other handmade crafts as well as home renovations. She also likes to sing! In fact, she used to lead choirs for a church.

If you ever have the pleasure of meeting Dr. Brown, you’ll see firsthand how motivating her optimism and charm is and how contagious her zest for learning can be. Her role in teaching has progressed from creating learning systems using web development tools combined with Excel spreadsheets to teach virtually and creating apps that complement the learning management systems that are smart phone compatible. And when it comes to the potential for her future research projects, "the sky is the limit".