Now we have the go-ahead, we’re continuing staff development and enhancing expertise.

Apologies for the lack of posts over the past few months. It’s been a very busy time for everyone here at Trinity College Foundation Studies. In late April we got the go ahead to proceed to the final stage of our pilot program – the full rollout of iPads to all new students enrolled in our Foundation Studies programs, from 2012. This exciting news and the certainty it brings has given the “Step Forward Program” a new surge of energy and activity.

Foremost among the activities taking up much of our attention is supporting over eighty teachers to further develop their expertise in mobile technology, and integrate the iPad into their teaching practices. We are currently planning and working towards another pilot with students in the August and September intakes in 2011. This will be a chance to further experiment, conduct some quality research and evaluation, and refine our approaches before commencing with our main programs from February 2012.

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iPad Professional Development for Teachers

***The Professional Development opportunity listed below was in May, 2011.
If you are interested in Professional Development with other teachers at Trinity College, please make a comment below, or get in touch with us, here.
Teachers who are interested in the iPad pilot at Trinity College Foundation Studies and would like to consider the teaching and learning opportunities of iPads at their school might be interested in an upcoming PD session at Trinity. This full-day session will be run by Glen Jennings and Jennifer Mitchell on 4 May.

Photos by Mark Chew

Trinity College iPad Pilot Report Available

As I reported below, the Report from our six month 1:1 iPad pilot was completed in January. The Report lays the foundations for bringing about the full vision that the Step Forward Pilot Project encompasses – a dynamic, engaging, active and creative curriculum for all students in the Foundation Studies Programs at Trinity College. Foundation Studies is a bridging program for International students preparing for studies at University. For more.

We can now share with you the full version of our ‘Step Forward’ iPad Pilot Report, which is available for viewing in a shared Google Doc.

Report on the Step Forward iPad Pilot Project

by Glen Jennings, Trent Anderson, Mark Dorset, and Jennifer Mitchell.

We have opened the report to comments and suggestions from the Academic Faculty at Trinity College, and we also welcome any and all comments, questions and reflections from our readers here. Feedback is an essential ingredient in any major institutional change – from both those involved, and from external observers.

In the next post soon to come, the philosophical and pedagogical underpinnings of Phase Two of the Project, detailed in an earlier post, will be outlined. I am also hoping to include a guest post from one of the students who undertook the August Early Entry program in 2010. Our students’ experiences and voices are another essential ingredient, and as Phase Two progresses, students will continue to be involved in the project. Several of the former August students have purchased their own iPads for their studies in the February Main Program. These students’ reflections and observations about the ways iPads are being used in the classrooms by teachers, and contributing to their learning experiences and study skills, will be sought and incorporated into the second pilot currently scheduled for 2011.

Please follow the link, and leave comments or questions.

Photos by Mark Chew


Pilot Report Findings and Phase Two

We are just now into the second exciting phase of the ‘Step Forward’ iPad Pilot Project. 2011 will see all teaching, and many administrative staff at Trinity College Foundation Studies in possession of an iPad. This is going to be a year of much sharing of expertise and ideas, as well as a steep learning curve for most of us. The range of subjects taught with iPads in Phase Two will expand from the original subjects: English for Academic Purposes, Physics, Chemistry, Literature, History of Ideas, Drama, Environment and Development, Economics, and Maths 1, to now include Media and Communications, Accounting, Psychology, Maths 2, and Biology.

I include myself in the general mass for whom integrating a new technology into our work practices is a challenging undertaking. Under normal conditions I teach Literature. However, the departure of Mark Dorset to his exciting new role led to me being offered a great opportunity – a secondment as Education Technology Manager to support staff throughout this year of change.

There is a growing list of schools and educational institutions experimenting with iPads around the world, and the data arising from the first pilot studies is only now emerging. Trinity College is among the leaders forging a pathway into 1:1 mobile learning. Our report into the pilot program presents findings from the second survey administered to students and staff – and shows overwhelming endorsement of the iPad in teaching and learning.

Read more about the key findings and recommendations after the break.

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Moving & Change

Apologies for the lack of posts over the past month. Several events have been occurring recently in conjunction with the end of our six month pilot.

We’ve completed more surveys with staff and students, and used the large collection of data that we’ve amassed over the past few months to create a final report numbering roughly 20 pages. I hope that we’ll be able to publish it on this blog shortly.

Additionally, I was recently offered a new role that will allow me to assist a great number of educational institutions with their technology needs, and was too good an opportunity to refuse. As such, it’s with some sadness that I’ll be leaving Trinity College. Luckily, the iPad pilot is in great (if not better) hands now, with Trent Anderson and Jennifer Mitchell coming on board to ensure that the teachers are given strong support as our investigations into mobile technology continue.


cheers, and thanks for reading!

Photos by Mark Chew

Early Reflections on Teaching and Learning with iPads

Trinity College Foundation Studies has been trialling iPads in the classroom since August 2010. Staff and students in nine subjects have been using the devices for more than two months. We are now at the stage where all participants have been surveyed to capture their initial expectations and to gauge early experiences of using the iPads inside and outside the classroom.

Since the latest survey in October, follow-up meetings with staff have also fleshed out the educational experiences. It’s now possible to make some tentative comments about practical, methodological and pedagogical issues that may be of interest to others who are currently trialling or plan to trial iPads or similar devices.

More info after the break…
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Wiki Server

Trinity College has been using MediaWiki in the IT department for a long time now to document tasks that have to be repeated, bugs encountered, bug fixes and so on. When we started the iPad pilot we continued using this wiki for the IT related facets of the project. But, we decided that non IT staff involved in the pilot would also benefit from access to read and edit a wiki. If staff found bugs, then they could create a page on that bug with a workaround. Or, if they found a good app or had a thought on the pilot in general, they would be able to add to the wiki. The version of MediaWiki we have been running in the IT department uses markup language only and is far too intimidating and/or complicated for many computer users. Being a bit of a Mac fan, I wanted to try Mac OS X Server’s Wiki Server as it is attractive to browse and has an easy to use wysiwyg editing interface.

Our Wiki

More after the break…
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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 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.