With Back to School shopping kicking into full gear, it got me thinking about how different academic institutions have become with all the technology available to us now. Check out what one school did to utilize arguably the best technology out there!

Last year, Abilene Christian University decided to give out iPhones and iPod touches (students’ choice) to all incoming freshmen. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it turns out that the school did a lot of research before deciding to do this, and it wasn’t just a gimmick.

Some details of the promotion:

  • ACU handed out 957 devices to incoming freshmen, 169 to faculty and 182 to staff
  • Incoming freshmen were given a choice between an iPhone, an iPod touch, or neither
  • About 36% chose an iPod touch over an iPhone
  • Podcasts, class polls and various communication channels were provided by the school
  • Students, teachers and staff were able to utilize a web portal (accessible through an iPhone/iPod touch or computer web browser) that offered curriculum overviews, syllabi, account information, Google Calendars and more

As a result, everyone seemed to agree that the program was a success and that the students’ grades, attendance and class work all benefited.

Pretty cool, huh? I love my iPhone, and if and when I get myself back in the classroom, I plan to have my mobile device in hand to help me get those straight A’s!

Go on over to the good folks at TUAW to read the whole story.

Tell us, students and teachers, do you use an iPhone or iPod touch in the classroom? If so, how? (Tell us in the comments below!)


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