ACU named an international “Center of Excellence” for innovative practices

ACU named an international “Center of Excellence” for innovative practices

Abilene Christian University continues to gain worldwide recognition for its innovation ­‑ this time earning the title of “Center of Excellence” by the New Media Consortium , an international consortium of colleges, universities and museums dedicated to the exploration and use of new media and new technologies. ACU earned the highest honor awarded by the New Media Consortium for its mobile learning initiative. This recognition places Abilene Christian among the leading universities that demonstrate excellence and outstanding achievement in the application of technology to learning. In fall 2008, ACU became the first university to initiate a mobile learning program by providing an Apple iPhone or iPod touch to all incoming freshmen to integrate technology and learning both in and out of the classroom. “Winning this award is a bit like being voted the MVP of an all-star game,” said George Saltsman, director of Educational Technology for the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning at ACU. “The members of the NMC are already an elite group of schools, so simply being part of the organization is a substantial honor. This award serves as another validation that our efforts to shape the future of higher education are being recognized.” Universities and museums were nominated and selected by a committee of anonymous leaders in the field of academia and industry. Winners of the “Center of Excellence Award” are expected to have a history of setting standards in the use of new media forms in teaching, learning, research and creative expression. “The Center of Excellence Awards celebrate the innovation and creativity that is part of the fabric of every member institution,” said NMC CEO Larry Johnson. “The NMC organizations recognized this year represent the best of our field, and each has had a tremendous history of accomplishment.” In 2006, the New Media Consortium first identified mobile phones as a technology to watch. Later that year, ACU’s LINK leadership team, a technology advisory team made up of faculty,administrators and campus technologists, used NMC’s findings to develop a local vision for projects like the mobile learning initiative, said Dr. Kyle Dickson, director of the Digital Media Center at ACU. “As we seek to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world, it’s essential that we provide them hands-on experience with the next-generation of tools and technologies,” Dickson said. ACU faculty continues exploring ways to use innovative learning practices in the classroom. Today’s students have never known a world without the Internet. Therefore, teaching and learning for this generation has begun to evolve. “This award really goes to the faculty of ACU who continue to explore and experiment with mobile learning,” said Saltsman. “Their collective efforts will ultimately shape the future of higher education.” To learn more about ACU’s Mobile Learning, visit www.acu.edu/connecte