The Flash Post.

If you follow technology news sites (or even if you don’t), you might be well aware of The Adobe vs Apple WAR ON FLASH (as opposed to the Google vs Apple WAR ON MOBILE OSes or any of the other apparent technology ‘wars’ going on right now.)

A quick aside… Am I the only one tiring of these supposed wars? Are they even wars? Really? I suspect that these ‘wars’ are usually just the formulation of adoring users and the media rather than the companies themselves, who are most likely happy that their products are valid enough to be contenders and receive a good deal of free press.

Anyway, given the lack of Adobe Flash on iOS, I thought I’d add some of my thoughts about the debate, as it’s something that regularly comes up when discussing iPads.

Plenty more to read after the break…
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Australia/New Zealand iPad mailing list for education

Many schools appear to be conducting research into iPads in classrooms, and a mailing list now exists to encourage discussion amongst education professionals in Australian/New Zealand schools (though if you’re around the globe, I’m sure you’re welcome as well).

Many of us are likely to face similar questions/hurdles, and together we might be able to collaborate to arrive at better/faster solutions.

If you’re interested in subscribing to the mailing list, please go to http://suburbia.com.au/mailman/listinfo/anzschools and fill out the web based form there.

Obviously the more members that join, the better the information might be, so I encourage you to at least give it a try!

[14/10/2010 edit: Due to demand outside of Victoria, we’ve expanded the original list from just Victorian schools to include the rest of Australia and New Zealand]

Why Change? Education as a dialogue.

The emphasis on moving beyond the simple to the more complex, as well as the emphasis on creating conditions within which students can pursue intellectual interests without arbitrary restrictions or rigid templates, is something that we can all relate to and appreciate as goals of our educational reform.

After all, if we don’t discover new and better things, and if we don’t develop improved skills, why change?

Teachers who encourage and help liberate the intellectual curiosity of students – and allow them the freedom to develop their own projects – are worth emulating, and provide an insight into a modern style of problem-based learning that is increasingly relevant at university level.

The ideas and experiments generated by Trinity College’s August Entry staff and students currently piloting the iPad potentially seem to fit with these possibilities of moving quickly through the simple to the more complex, encouraging exploration and genuine intellectual inquiry, and broadening the education horizon.

Resources are instantly at hand and easy to collect, annotate, contrast and compare. This gives time to do the important work of thinking, discussing, and evaluating. And students seem to be able to quickly create and deliver presentations.

I agree with the suggested idea by Jane Garton, one of our teachers at Trinity, about a forum within our organisation for conducting, sharing and discussing research and educational practice. And I know that some other staff, including Jennifer Mitchell and Gayle Allan, are keen to promote an education wiki.

We can use these collaborative tools to discuss the kinds of questions raised previously by Gary Stager, Mark Dorset and Pam Lawrence. And, for example, I agree that Gary promotes greater freedom and less structure in assessment. But contrary to Pam’s worry, I don’t believe Trinity could do away with exams or formal assessment. Trinity students are required to achieve a certain score for university entrance.

Perhaps what we need to do is broaden our definition of assessment, and also think about the way in which we conduct assessment or process our assessment.

Another of our Trinity colleagues David Gormley-O’Brien, for example, has an excellent system of electronically commenting on electronically-submitted work which not only sets a formal grade but tracks the backwards and forwards discussion between teacher and student that manifests education that is a dialogue and a process of progression. This is possible through an online learning environment such as Moodle, and is worthy of close scrutiny and discussion by our Foundation Studies staff.