Texas based University hands out iPhones/iPod Touches to all Freshman

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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?

Comments

  1. It would be interesting to know more about the apps but i think it would be very useful indeed! I am using my iPhone in ways I had not anticipated. Such as tracking work outs and weight loss (or sometimes gain). It will be fun to watch and see.

  2. Wow, who pays for that? I guess since it’s a Catholic school that it’s part of the tuiton. So you’d be a fool to not take one. When I was a kid we were lucky if we had TRS-80s in school. Nice.

  3. I don’t have the link, but those fools at Ars Technica are all bitching about not wanting an iPhone and that they should lower the tuition instead…Oh, brother…

    I’ll take your iPhone then! Sheesh.

  4. I thought schools were supposed to teach not force students to purchase (though increased tuition costs) something they (a) might already have, (b) not want or (c) can’t afford. Why can’t schools just stick to doing the best job they can at educating people???

  5. As an educator whose job it is to help teachers with technology integration, I can be confident that the school IS sticking “to doing the best job they can at educating people.”

    Today, most of us, especially the younger of us are used to texting, playing video games, looking up information online, and so on and so on. Then we bring today’s kids to schools and sit them in front of worksheets and textbooks.

    The iPhone and iPod apps themselves are not necessarily what add to the learning. It’s the medium that is used for the learning that engages the students. It meets them where they live. It doesn’t remove them from their world and stick them in some artificial educational world.

    THAT’S the value of technology integration.

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