In the summer of 2007 ACU (Abilene Christian University) began exploring the possibilities of using mobile devices to enhance the education experience. They are not the first to begin embracing technology for teaching – some schools hand out laptops to elementary school kids these days – but they are the first to develop a variety of programs specifically for the iPhone/iPod Touch.
ACU ran a pilot study with the faculty and technology developers to determine how the iPhone/iPod Touch could be used in an educational environment to enhance the learning process. The results of that study were that the group came up with a wide variety of uses for the device. Over 15 Applications have been created including homework alerts, in-class surveys, directions to classrooms and offices, meal balance information, and more.
As a result, every incoming freshman will be given either an iPod Touch or an iPhone (based on their desire to have an At&t contract, I assume), and the results of their use of these applications will determine the future of the mobile device programs at ACU.
Personally, I have a hard time seeing how these applications could seriously enhance the learning process – but I haven’t actually gotten the chance to use any of them – so how would I know? I’d like to know more information about how these applications work, and what their future plans are for the development of mobile learning apps.
What do you think?