WebForward Conference 2011 - Robert Hill, University of Adelaide

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  • 1. WebForward Conference 20112nd June 2011Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre Understanding How to Exploit The Power of Tablets in Education Professor Robert Hill Executive Dean - Faculty of Sciences The University of Adelaide
  • 2. What is the problem?• Scientists are too often portrayed as disconnected individuals, with little concern for public good, who have difficulty reaching a position on any issue.• This has become more serious as politics has become increasingly professional and many industry lobby groups only consider short term economic gain.• Students are therefore not engaging in science – it is seen as important, but someone else’s problem. Prof. Robert Hill 2 of 21 The University of Adelaide
  • 3. Before and after drawings of a scientist from a Fermilab website. From: http://ed.fnal.gov/projects/scientistsProf. Robert Hill 3 of 21The University of Adelaide
  • 4. We don’t need a significantly larger number ofworking scientists, but we do need many morescientifically literate people. Prof. Robert Hill 4 of 21 The University of Adelaide
  • 5. Why is scientific literacy important?• Population growth and climate change make a useful example. Prof. Robert Hill 5 of 21 The University of Adelaide
  • 6. World Population Growth Through History Prof. Robert Hill 6 of 21 The University of Adelaide
  • 7. World Population Growth Through History Prof. Robert Hill 7 of 21 The University of Adelaide
  • 8. Prof. Robert Hill 8 of 21The University of Adelaide
  • 9. Tester & Langridge (2010) Science 327: 818-22Prof. Robert Hill 9 of 21The University of Adelaide
  • 10. The contextMore crops need to be produced, in the face of rapid global environmental changeFood security Rising population - 9 bn by 2050Fuel security Demand for bio-fuels is putting Pressure on food cropsClimate change Impact is greater for Australia than for any other developed country Impact is greater for the agricultural sector than for any other sector FAO (Rome, 2009) predicts we need 70% more food by 2050, but little more land can be brought in to production Prof. Robert Hill 10 of 21 The University of Adelaide
  • 11. Field trials by Australian GrainTechnologies, University of Adelaide Prof. Robert Hill - a macroarray The University of Adelaide 11 of 21
  • 12. • Nevertheless, economic rationalists still believe that the only solution for future prosperity is economic growth and this is underpinned by population growth. • We need a new paradigm for the future and scientifically literate people must lead the debate.Prof. Robert Hill 12 of 21The University of Adelaide
  • 13. This was our problem, what was our solution?• We have rewritten our curriculum to make it relevant to incoming students and to present it in a way that connected students closely with society and its current and future problems.• We also needed a device to allow for seemless access and exchange of information, so that students could learn to educate themselves – our choice was the Apple iPad. Prof. Robert Hill 13 of 21 The University of Adelaide
  • 14. This led to the 10 Big Questions: Prof. Robert Hill 14 of 21 The University of Adelaide
  • 15. • Every lecture is anchored to at least one of these questions.• Follow up work includes freeing ourselves from set text books and completely changing our assessment process to move away from rote learning as the key factor for success. Prof. Robert Hill 15 of 21 The University of Adelaide
  • 16. We committed to the Apple iPad as the best tool to deliver this new curriculum Why?• Students will carry it with them• It is great for accessing the internet (we bought 3G enabled iPads)• It has lots of relevant apps for education• It allows for e-books to be purchased• Staff were easy to persuade to be involved• It was the shiny new device at the time and attracted a lot of attention Prof. Robert Hill 16 of 21 The University of Adelaide
  • 17. What were the challenges?• Some anti-Apple sentiment• The ponderous University system• IT staff, but they came on board when they realised it wasn’t a gimmick – they became enablers, not owners which was a critical point in the success of the project• Developing an approach to marketing to students - several approaches tried, most failed Prof. Robert Hill 17 of 21 The University of Adelaide
  • 18. How well has it worked?• First year enrolments increased significantly• Retention has improved• Student reaction has varied from non-commital to very strong, with no negative feedback• The University is watching us very closely and several targets for success have been set and so far met• There are major improvements in approach to teaching and content• This is the start of a long process of continual improvement Prof. Robert Hill 18 of 21 The University of Adelaide
  • 19. What next?• Remove text books from courses• Radically change assessment practices• Move strongly into on-line space• Close large lecture theatres• Teach students anywhere in the world• Contribute strongly to solving the major problems we face in the future Prof. Robert Hill 19 of 21 The University of Adelaide
  • 20. http://annares.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/happy-birthday-dr-seuss/ Prof. Robert Hill 20 of 21 The University of Adelaide