Large-scale adoption of mobile technology is still very new and has no precedent, particularly in the education sector, so the aim of the project has been to gain knowledge, understanding and real world experience. This has been achieved by conducting real device trials with CSU students, staff and within current infrastructure. The pilot programs have been structured to be small and have a limited scope, so that multiple programs can be run at the same time. The small size makes it much easier to provide focussed support to staff and students, affording the ability to change and adapt to resolve issues on the fly. The aim of this approach is to make it easier to manage risks and reduce failure rates. Shorter timelines (based around sessional dates) dictate that less time is spent planning and more time doing, and with all the pilots there is a sense of exploration of the possibilities rather than limitations because of the risks involved.
The initial student trials of Phase One were set up through consultation with the Learning & Teaching sub-deans who allocated specific subjects and academics. The academics involved and school Educational Designers then set up the parameters for the project, in consultation with the Project’s core team. The trials for Phase Two were set up through an Expression of Interest, where academics suggested the trials to conduct in their teaching and learning. These were then screened to align with the objectives of the Project and a number of diverse projects went ahead. Throughout the trials, the core project team provided technical support and equipment, and was heavily involved in the initial setup and training. A Project Interact site was developed allowing access to ongoing support, contact with the team, knowledge base materials, how to guides and video tutorials.
Surveys were run at the start and end of each session to measure results. The initial survey was to gauge participant access to technology and familiarity with mobile technology. The second survey conducted at the conclusion of the trials asked participants about:
- experiences with the iPad
- experiences with support received in the Project
- activities performed with the device
- time spent on the device
- perceived effect it had on them and their study
- confidence in using the technology
- attitudes towards mobile
- technology preferences
- voicing their views and opinions openly
Focus groups and interviews with specific staff and students are planned for 2013.