Can the iPhone save higher education?

What happens when you give about 2,000 college students and their teachers Apple iPhones and iPod Touches and tell them “Go mobile, go digital?” No one knows. But that’s what Abilene Christian University is trying to find out with its Mobile Learning project, Network World reports. What ACU is trying to explore isn’t whether the iPhone itself will transform teaching and learning, but whether always-on, always connected, personal digital devices and social networks can. Higher-education computing programs now often mandate or provide wireless laptops, but many of these are ad-hoc efforts, with more or less no funding. By contrast, when ACU first gave 650 entering freshmen in 2008 a choice of iPhone or iPod Touch, it was already putting in place a funded program to equip and encourage faculty to begin exploiting the handsets in the classroom, and a framework to evaluate the results. The goal, in effect, was eventually to turn the entire campus into a laboratory for mobile learning research, experimentation, and analysis. “Based on the feedback we’re getting, we’re convinced it’s working,” says CTO Kevin Roberts…

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