Need A Free iPhone? Enroll at Abilene

November 7, 2008 by Ryan Ray 

What would you do if you were an incoming Freshman? Would you be freaking just a little bit? Many of us have been there twice, the first time in high school and once again in college. The first time is was enough for me, I had it rough haha. But get this, Abilene Christian University will be buying and providing every freshman with a new iPhone 3G or an iPod Touch. Just this year that happened to be 1,000 new students! How cool would that be to arrive and get the normal big stack of papers and your welcome t-shirts, only to toss those aside and rip into your newly issued iPhone 3G. That’s what I would be doing.

This generous gift is part of their new mobile learning project. ACU has written their own web apps specifically for this experiment. Of course the school is paying for the iPhones or iPods themselves then the parents can select the plan they want from AT&T or opt out and just get their kids the iPod Touch.

They want to mobilize their students. Everything, including syllabus’, videos, pdf’s, videos, anything they could ever need for all of their classes is online and completely accessible by their iPhones/iPods. One question I wonder is if they’ve actually saved money on printing costs compared to buying the iPhones and iPods? Someone answer that for me please…The school chose web based apps over writing their own with the developers kit to future proof the system incase something like an Android phone pops up in the system. That student can still access the web apps and not be stuck with an iPhone, but who would do that, ;) ?!

One of the cool things they are doing is letting the iPhone be your central device to help you get to know the school. For instance you can find your class schedule on your iPhone, which will have the time and room of course, but what’s awesome is the 3D map that will guide you to that class, or lunch room, or basketball game, etc… Such a genius application of this sort of technology. They are doing other things of course that are much more educational. They take their homework home with them assigned on their iPhones. They take in class quizes via the iPhone and view the results immediately thanks to these web apps.

With all of that activity ACU has had to completely overhaul their Wireless networks to get ready for the onslaught of 1,000 new iPhones/iPods that are always connected. The funny thing is Abilene didn’t even have 3G until the university picked up these phones. AT&T personally came in and installed 3G towers to help the school out. Hey AT&T we don’t have 3G here in Indiana, would you mind throwing us a bone up here as well?!

Well there isn’t any point in me transferring to ACU, I’ve got my iPhone and I already go to a Christian school. For some though this is an enticing deal. If not only for the iPhone but for the awesome new experience of using BRAND NEW technology in a learning sort of way. I know to some learning is boring, but I’m a nerd and this is an awesome step in the right direction of making school relevant to many. So what are your thoughts on this idea of iPhones for learning? Are you for or against it? Speak up!

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2 Responses to “Need A Free iPhone? Enroll at Abilene”

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