iPads in the Classroom

Since iPads were introduced in 2010 to the TC Foundation Studies curriculum, students have achieved better academic outcomes.

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In 2010, Trinity College Foundation Studies was one of the first institutions in the world to pilot the use of iPads in the classroom to test their educational benefits.

The overall aim is to enable flexibility, enhance students’ creativity, and encourage independent learning.

The initial launch included around 50 students and 20 staff exploring the use of technology in the classroom.

All TCFS students receive the latest available iPad when they commence their studies at Trinity, and these devices belong to the student during and after the program.

A series of introductory training sessions are provided to TCFS students. The eLearning Coordinator also provides ongoing guidance and support in regard to educational use of the iPads for students and teaching staff.

In the classroom, students participate in interactive and creative activities. Outside the classroom, students can access support and revision resources created specifically to enhance outcomes for students within a mobile learning environment.


Since the introduction of iPads in the classroom in 2010:

  • Student results have improved across a number of important measures.
  • Much of the paper content of courses has been eliminated.
  • Digital course materials are accessed, stored, shared and worked with on iPads.
  • Communication between students and teaching staff is greatly enhanced.
  • Students surveyed say they value the lightness and flexibility of the iPad, its convenience, connectivity and access to instant information for research in the classroom.


The academic pilot program aims to realise the potential of students and teachers by liberating creativity and promoting exploration and critical inquiry. Its educational aims can be encapsulated in a single phrase: to go further, faster, and with more fun.

Experiences with iPads at Trinity began in Phase One, in the full range of subjects with the August entry students, including English, Chemistry, Drama, Economics, Environment and Development, History of Ideas, Maths and Physics. During this phase of the pilot, students and staff also incorporated the iPads into welfare and social activities, from attendance tracking to relaxation sessions.

At the start of 2011 the second exciting phase of the pilot project began. All teaching and many administrative staff have been allocated an iPad. The range of subjects taught with iPads in Phase Two has expanded to now include the original cohort as well as Media and Communications, Accounting, Psychology, Maths 2, and Biology. The focus for the year-long Phase Two is training teachers in the use of iPads and the broader range of education technology available at Trinity. This is a collaborative process, where all academic staff share knowledge and ideas to build a developing body of skills, innovations and ideas to foster engaging learning programs.

Phase Three involves repeating the pilot with August Extended students in 2011 to apply and refine the original research and to gain further experience and make more curriculum developments before entering the final phase of full deployment to all students in early 2012.

The final stage of the project will be to expand the use of iPads to the whole of Trinity College Foundation Studies students in 2012.

For more information, contact Jennifer Mitchell or Glen Jennings.


The Pilot started a public blog.

Read a report of the Step Forward iPad program.

Video Content

The Launch of the iPad Pilot

Environment and Development classes in the August Entry Pilot

Trinity College Foundation Studies 'Engaging Students in the 21st Century'

Trinity College Foundation Studies - iPad program - EAP class

Trinity College Foundation Studies - iPad program - Gary Stager staff workshop

Trinity College Foundation Studies - iPad experience - Chillout sessions

Media and articles

AUC: Wheels for the Mind - Summer 2010

Current Awareness Portal, National Library of Japan's Parliament (March 2011)

Delimiter (November, 2010)

Delimiter (March 2011)