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An Apple iPhone or iPod touch will become a central part of Abilene Christian University’s innovative learning experience this fall when all freshmen are provided one of these converged media devices, said Phil Schubert, ACU executive vice president.

At ACU – the first university in the nation to provide these cutting-edge media devices to its incoming class – freshmen will use an iPhone or iPod touch to receive homework alerts, answer in-class surveys and quizzes, get directions to their professors’ offices, and check their meal and account balances – among more than 15 other useful web applications already developed, said ACU Chief Information Officer Kevin Roberts.

ACU’s vision for technology has been captured in a forward-looking film called ‘Connected,’ found online – along with information about ACU’s other ground-breaking mobile learning
efforts – at www.acu.edu/connected. – You can read more from this article HERE.

Below is a summary from someone who was a part of the freshman orientation at ACU:

This past weekend Abilene Christian University gave away about 1,000 iPhones and iPod Touch’s. All of the devices were given away totally free. Parents had the option to opt-out of the iPhone, in case they did not want to pay the monthly bill. In that case, students still received an iPod Touch 8GB Model. The iPod Touch, when connected to ACU’s Wifi Network can do pretty much everything the iPhone can do with respect to all of the ACU specific Applications. The iPod Touch just doesn’t have the GPS Guided campus map available.

ACU is the only place in Abilene, Texas with 3G Network Coverage from AT&T. AT&T did the work just for them, and will get to the rest of the town’s 3G coverage later. This in an unprecedented leap in technology for education, and Abilene Christian is leading the way. Oklahoma Christian University will soon follow. ACU gets calls weekly from other university’s administrations inquiring about this initiative. Hopefully many schools will follow in ACU’s footsteps.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Students login to a special ACU app and their schedule is downloaded to their iPhone or iPod Touch
  • GPS map shows students where they’re at on campus and how to get to their class
  • Professors can take attendance by iPhones present in class
  • Professors can get real-time feedback from students via surveys (“Do I need to spend more time on this or do you understand it?” – students answer “Yes” or “No thanks. I got it.”)
  • Students can check their meal and account balance

PERSONAL:
Today my son, Tommy, turns 6 years old and starts his first day of school. My little boy is growing up!