The university began distributing new iPhones and iPod touches to freshmen and transfer students last week in the Brown Library, with a new option that allows those students to pay extra for an Apple iPad.
New students could pick up their new iPhone 4 or iPod touch Aug. 20-23. Team 55 and employees from AT&T were involved in the distribution of the devices. Kay Reeves, executive director of information technologies, said the help from AT&T employees improved the process.
“Our distribution has been smoother this year than in several years,” Reeves said.
This is the fourth year ACU has distributed mobile learning devices to new students, but the first that students could choose between an iPhone 4, a new iPod touch or a $300 voucher toward an iPad. Bill Rankin, director of educational innovation, said 40 percent of incoming freshmen last year already had an iPhone. Now new students who already have an iPhone or iPod touch have the option of an iPad.
“We see the iPad as a premier platform,” said Dr. Rankin.
Along with adding the iPad voucher to the list of choices, the university is continuing to expand the integration of moblie technology into classrooms.
In the past, students could keep devices given by the university for two years and then trade them in for brand new devices. This year, instead of simply replacing the devices, ACU is allowing students to keep their old devices when they receive their second device. Third-year students will receive their upgrades on Sept. 11.
Many students are glad to receive an upgraded device. Sarah Groveunder, a Freshman Communication Sciences and Disorders major exchanged her iPhone 3G for an iPhone 4.
“It’s a lot faster than my old phone,” she said. “I had no idea there would be so many new features.”
The number of students armed with mobile learning devices is continuing to grow. Other schools have seen ACU’s success and are learning from the example.
“If we wanted to experiment with [mobile learning devices] we needed to provide them,” Rankin said. “We are only beginning now to see new potential.”