Education Strategy – eLearning Incubator

CollabiPad

For our students, the iPad is just one of the tools they use to work with in the classroom.

In 2014, Trinity College is evolving from the now firmly established base of mobile learning principles practiced in Foundation Studies, to expand our eLearning potential as an institution. An eLearning Incubator staffed by experienced classroom teachers and a technology specialist, is researching and piloting developing technologies, learning and teaching environments, project-based and student-centred learning. The anticipated outcomes are designed to equip students with the critical thinking and learning skills demanded by universities and employers in the 21st Century.

The eLearning Incubator works across the College, in all areas of teaching and learning – not just Foundation Studies. It has a pedagogical and educational focus, and is a consultative and collaborative group. Trinity is not new to eLearning – the Theological School has been successfully delivering quality online courses for many years – but there is much to be shared across the learning frontiers. Key aims of the eLearning Incubator are to deliver quality academic development to help staff create transformative educational experiences for students; to develop teaching solutions and strategies for innovative projects; and to research and measure the effectiveness of eLearning delivery. The group will also write and publish academic articles based on primary research in national and international peer-reviewed journals, and present at national and international conferences. Three articles, and two academic presentations are planned for 2014. One paper on the yearlong staff iPad training program is soon to be published as an open access article in an international education journal. A second, longer article is in progress, and concerns the outcomes for students after two years of learning in a 1:1 iPad environment, in a longitudinal comparison with earlier years.

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Collaborative projects make up an increasingly important part of the work students do at Foundations Studies.

The eLearning Incubator is also involved in delivering professional development training for academic and general staff across the college, and offering staff support with their teaching goals. One recent activity involved providing support and training to the BAX (Bachelor of Arts Extended) for Indigenous students engaged in a short movie trailer project. The eLearning Incubator is also working with a number of Foundation Studies administration services to develop online and interactive orientation information and learning activities. Other research projects in progress in 2014 include a study on the effectiveness – across a range of measures – of a ‘flipped classroom’ model in lectures; exploring the best ways to mine and analyse learning analytics, and an evaluation of project based learning and creative assessments within the Pathways School.

The eLearning Incubator aims to empower staff at Trinity to effectively engage students via online experiences. Ultimately the goal of the Incubator is make the most of important, yet limited face to face time; to design and then rigorously evaluate online learning models suited to our context for our staff to repurpose to meet diverse needs.

 

 

The best things about our 1:1 iPad Program? Connectivity, reliability, confidence, opportunity, creativity.

We are nearly through the second full year of our 1:1 iPad project, and it has been a very busy time – thus the hiatus in posts here. After two pilots in 2010 and 2011, we are now firmly invested in continuing to be a fully 1:1 iPad college, and have seen the benefits of it for both students and teaching staff.

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They are keen to get their brand new iPad out of the box and get started on purchasing some study-related apps.

Yet, with more and more tablet computers coming on to the market, I thought it might be a good time to have a look back and consider what has been behind much of the success we have seen across our programs, and at the same time address the topic of why the BYOD path is not one we are considering. The best things? Connectivity, reliability, confidence, opportunity, creativity. In a series of posts I will explore the above features one by one. This week, connectivity.

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Trinity receives visits from Apple specialists in iBooks Author and iTunes U

In August and October this year, Trinity was fortunate enough to get two visits to the college by specialists from Apple Australia. In August, an Apple Development Executive in Education presented on the Apple program iBooks Author to a group of rapt teachers in the Gourlay Basement, bringing a set of Macbook Air laptops so that we could all participate actively, and learn to make an iBook. Later in October we were fortunate to be visited by a Digital Education Content Specialist, who introduced us to iTunes U, and the possibilities of using the recently updated Apple platform to host courses, and distribute video and other course material to students.

Our Apple educator presenting on the features of iBooks Author to TCFS teachers and administrators.

iBooks Author

The opportunity to learn from the experts, and have professional presenters taking us through the finer points of these products, was much appreciated. Many of us are already convinced about the potential benefits of creating custom-designed learning materials for our students, which have engaging and interactive features. Continue reading

Evolving and Changing Teaching and Learning in a 1:1 iPad classroom

In 2012 Trinity College welcomed it’s first full cohort of Foundation Studies students into a 1:1 iPad teaching and learning environment. In February this year approximately four hundred students began the full program which will run until December. In 2010 and 2011 we ran two pilot programs with a smaller group of students over a shorter time frame. Discussion of these pilots and the perspectives of staff and students can be seen in earlier posts, and in our first Report. A more formal evaluation of the second pilot is still forthcoming. See the previous post for some insights into how students from our first iPad Pilot performed in the 2011 February Main Program.

As the infiltration of mobile technologies into our classrooms and lecture theatres has become ubiquitous over the past two years, it becomes less imperative to be asking what are the academic benefits to students and teachers of mobile technologies, and more interesting to be asking in what ways we can exploit the presence of mobile technology to engage students more with interactive tasks, encourage broader questioning and critical thinking, and demand from students a greater involvement in their own learning – and particularly at Trinity, in the tools students can employ to further their English language learning. We feel that these objectives are not far away from realisation, and the anecdotal evidence gathered so far from teachers and students is very encouraging.

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Scholarship Results for Trinity iPad Students

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In Semester One 2012 the University of Melbourne allocated the following undergraduate scholarships to the Trinity College Foundation Studies students who came through the Trinity iPad Program:

1 X 100% fee waiver

2 X 50% fee waiver

7 X 10% fee waiver

In total 10 TCFS iPad students received scholarships, 24% of the total graduating cohort of the students from the iPad Pilot Program.

The iPad students, who commenced their Trinity studies as August Extended students in 2010 before joining the larger February Main cohort in 2011, comprised 10.3% of the February Main 2011 cohort. The iPad students attracted 40% of the scholarships (10 of the 25) that were offered to the February Main graduating students who began undergraduate study at the University of Melbourne in Semester One 2012.

Since the start of 2012 all TCFS students have been allocated iPads, and it will be interesting to monitor their academic progress throughout this year. Hopefully we can look forward to high levels of academic engagement and achievement for all students and also look forward to future scholarship winners.

Excellent Academic Results with Trinity’s iPad Pilot Group

Today the new February Main 2012 students of Trinity College Foundation Studies (TCFS) begin their orientation activities. A key component of their academic orientation will be the distribution of iPads for use in the classroom and for study at home, in the library, or wherever students happen to be inspired or pressed by an assessment deadline. As we prepare a new cohort to commence their academic program using iPads, it is worthwhile reflecting both on the effectiveness of Trinity’s original iPad Pilot Program and the rationale for extending iPad use to all TCFS students and academic staff.

Final academic results for the iPad Pilot Group within Trinity College Foundation Studies show that iPad students achieved the highest individual scores in the 2011 February Main cohort. The iPad students achieved higher average scores than their February Main classmates. The iPad students also did better on average than classmates from their home countries.

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Research and Evaluation: A Work in Progress

In conjunction with the latest iPad Pilot underway at Trinity College Foundation Studies, there is research and evaluation work in progress to determine how we can best develop the most engaging and challenging programs for our Foundation Studies students. If you are interested in knowing more about this research, please look here at some excerpts from the Literature Review which has been undertaken, including the interim research questions, rationale for the research focus, and a selection of the Works Cited from the Literature Review. Our first pilot was also extensively evaluated in the Step Forward Report, which is also still available

As educators all around the world consider the fast developing options for personal mobile technologies available to their students, it is essential to share experiences, discuss, debate and engage with one another. As our last post demonstrated, collaboration between institutions, and sharing information and experiences really adds to the feeling of being embarked on an exciting journey as educators – an experience which students should be invited into, and enabled in many ways to shape for themselves.

It is also important to consider the systems and supports which are required to maintain the programs and curriculum – including the ways staff are engaging in professional development; the ways students are using their iPads in and out of the classroom for learning, and from these findings, to determine how to direct our future plans in ways which will maximise the benefits for our students. One key reference text which is guiding the research process is a collection of essays edited by Vavoula Giasemi, Norbert Pachler, and Agnes Kukulska-Hulme. Researching Mobile Learning: Frameworks, Tools and Research Designs.(2009) Oxford, Bern, Berlin: Peter Lang Verlag.

If you have any questions about the research, please comment here, or at the Academia.edu site. Comments and questions welcome.

Ongoing Educational Exchange

On Tuesday 23 August, one day after the launch of Trinity’s second iPad pilot, we were pleased to host colleagues from Redlands College in Queensland. Craig Zaki, Annamari Twomey, Lucy Clinch and Adam Ayling dropped by to share experiences using iPads in the classroom. While Jennifer Mitchell and I were not in a position to demonstrate the use of iPads in the classroom that morning (because our August and September students had only arrived on Monday and were still undergoing orientation activities) we were happy to share the results of our earlier trial that ran from August 2010 until February 2011. We also discussed the extensive professional development with Trinity staff that has taken place throughout 2011.

In a broad ranging discussion we shared classroom experiences, anecdotes of how the varying cohorts of students adapt to the devices, useful applications to apply across disciplines or for very specific subjects, and the trials and tribulations of dealing with certain technical issues and attitudes. We agreed that things evolve quickly and are worth revisiting. (For example, Trinity had less than ideal experiences with E-Clicker in 2010 but Redlands has been using it seamlessly this year. We shared work together on SyncSpace, an application that is fairly new to us, and discussed the potential of SyncSpace for collaborative work in the classroom. Both Redlands and Trinity reported good experiences with Dropbox, and we’ve also appreciated updates and developments in a range of other applications, including Evernote.)

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Two Pilots Are Better Than One

Getting ready to study

TCFS students receive their iPads, 22 August 2011

On 22 August 2011 we moved to the next stage of our iPad trial at Trinity College Foundation Studies by welcoming students into the August Extended and September Extended programs. Each student was allocated an iPad to be used throughout their studies in Melbourne.

Use of iPads with the August and September cohorts of students is the final preparation before using iPads with every new student in every subject for all TCFS intakes commencing in 2012.

We ran our original trial of iPads in the classroom from August 2010 until February 2011, and this trial was very successful, leading to a recommendation from staff and students to expand the program in 2011 and beyond. Earlier this year Trinity rolled out iPads to all academic staff, with associated professional development led by Jennifer Mitchell and educational discussions held within academic departments. This preparation enabled plenty of time for skills training and curriculum development before the full implementation in 2012. At the same time we had ongoing improvements to our classroom AV equipment and close collaboration with staff in Information Technology Services, especially Martin Steers and Trent Anderson, to make sure that iPads were well integrated in teaching spaces and well supported.

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iPad Pilot – Take Two. Aims, Apps and Ambitions

The TCFS iTunes Card Mural

Well, it’s less than a week until the new students taking part in our pilot repeat arrive to begin their education journey with iPads at Trinity College Foundation Studies. Our preparation, as you can read in earlier posts, has focused on training our teachers, exploring new approaches to teaching and learning, and maximising student engagement. We’ve been pondering not only the logistics of implementation, distribution, and management, but also paying close attention to how we will be using iPads in the classroom, and how to best meet the needs of our particular students. It’s not all about the apps. Still, we’d like to share with you our app list for this Pilot – take two.

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