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

14/10/2013

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.

Handout

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.

A new intake of Foundation Studies students is lining up outside the lecture theatre door to receive their iPads. They have had a week or so of orientation to living in Melbourne, finding their way around the College and the University, choosing their electives and meeting staff. Now they are keen to get their brand new iPad out of the box and get started on purchasing some study-related apps, familiarising themselves with their coursework, and perhaps even get a head start on the reading. Students pay for their iPad in their fees, and with it receive a few hours of intensive orientation to using what is already for many a familiar leisure tool as a powerful learning and teaching tool. Our Information Technology Services staff have developed profiles for each incoming student which immediately connects them up to the wireless network, into the college email system, contacts and calendars. Ordinarily it might take many weeks to get every student connected in to these essential communication services, but with all students using iPads it can literally be done in a matter of moments.

The teaching staff can be absolutely sure all our students are online, linked in with services, able to be contacted.
Well before the students arrive, staff are, of course, preparing course outlines and introductory lectures, designing activities, quizzes, video lectures and ebooks, and populating the Moodle learning management system with all manner of course materials. Knowing all the students are equipped with iPads connected to the wireless network makes it a relatively easy proposition for teachers to plan how to share their custom-made course materials with students, who will sometimes be in their classrooms within a week of arriving in the country. Students who are not linked in to the learning networks of the college will be behind before they know it, trying to catch up. Of course, sometimes technology can be unreliable, however the processes we have developed are designed to minimise the impact of such complications, and staff work together to provide as seamless an orientation experience as possible.
There just isn’t time for teaching staff to be following up students who have not yet tuned in, so this orientation process ensures all students are linked in, set up with apps and shortcuts to the key websites, have an iBook version of the Student and Welfare Handbooks, and the contact details of all the staff and services who can support them in their studies. Such processes are imperative for international students – away from home in a totally new environment. The teaching staff can be as sure as possible that all our students are online, linked in with services, and able to be contacted. In the introductory lectures students can download the course guides, the custom iBooks, the mathematics lecture notes. Before their tutorials commence, they can be watching the introductory videos, reading in advance, and familiarising themselves with the programs.
With the issue of connectivity assured, the way opens up for the remaining best things to happen. Next time, why reliability in a learning tool is so important for innovating in eLearning.
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One Response to “The best things about our 1:1 iPad Program? Connectivity, reliability, confidence, opportunity, creativity.”

  1. gallan2013 said

    Good post Jen. Love the photo…:)

    G

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