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ACU’s innovation attracts global attention; hundreds converge on campus to explore mobile learning

By Anynmous



Abilene Christian University has committed itself to exploring how mobile technology can shape the way society lives, works and learns. In August, ACU changed the face of higher education by being the first institution to announce a university-wide deployment of iPhone and iPod touch devices beginning with all incoming freshmen. Now, ACU is preparing to host {{more}} mobile learning experts from universities, colleges and K-12 institutions around the world to establish best practices in this emerging field.In February, almost a year to the day after first announcing its “Connected” Mobile Learning Initiative, ACU will host the 2009 ConnectEd Summit, the first collaborative workshop focusing on integrating iPhone and iPod touch into coordinated mobile-learning programs at educational institutions. Participating faculty, information technology professionals, developers and administrators from more than 50 institutions, representing 20 states and five countries, will gain practical insights on how to plan and implement mobile learning solutions at their campuses.“ACU’s ConnectEd Summit is important not just for ACU, but for the entire field of mobile learning,” said Dr. William Rankin, co-director of ACU’s Mobile Learning Initiative. “As the first school in the world to announce a comprehensive program based on the iPhone and iPod touch, we’ve continued to build our expertise, and have been able to present at some of the premier educational conferences in the world. That exposure, in turn, has helped us connect to many of the key theorists and practitioners in the emerging field of mobile learning, and that’s who will be joining us on campus in February.”Along with representatives from universities in several countries, an international collection of technology leaders will be addressing the 300 participants at the Summit, and representatives from key vendors such as Apple, AT&T, Alcatel-Lucent and Turning Technologies will also be participating. “AT&T believes that wireless voice and data services are fundamental elements of the 21st-century learning environment,” said Carl Done, vice president of Higher Education for AT&T. “AT&T is focused on delivering new and innovative solutions specifically tailored to the unique requirements of higher education and K-12 and we are proud to be participating in this event.”As a recognized leader in mobile learning, ACU continues to receive exposure for its innovative learning strategies. “This summit gives us a chance to continue and expand discussions we started at venues like EDUCAUSE, the New Media Consortium’s national meeting and London’s Handheld Learning Conference,” said Rankin. “We’re eager to work with educators and specialists in mobile learning from around the world. By bringing together the top theorists and practitioners in this emerging educational field, we look forward to solidifying the great progress we’ve all been making, which will benefit our students and our schools.” In 2006, the ACU LINK team, a technology advisory team made up of faculty, administrators and campus technologists, had a vision of a leading-edge 21st-century educational community. Their proposed ideas were the basis for the Connected vision, a first-of-its-kind initiative in which every student received an iPhone or iPod touch as a new platform for active learning. ACU’s goal was to create a learning environment without boundaries.This unique approach to education put ACU at the top of U.S. News & World Report’s list of “Schools to Watch” of colleges and universities demonstrating innovative new ideas. Now ACU, along with representatives from more than a dozen other innovative schools, will offer its expertise to faculty, information technology professionals, developers and administrators from colleges and universities around the world who want to learn more about key challenges, best practices and practical approaches as they work toward their own large-scale deployments of mobile learning programs based on the iPhone and iPod touch.“We want to bring together all of the schools that have implemented these sorts of programs so we can share our knowledge and provide practical, concrete help to those who are just getting started,” said Rankin. “This is an exciting time in education—a time when we and others are establishing new approaches to teaching and learning that will characterize education in the 21st century.”To learn more about ACU’s Mobile Learning Initiative, visit

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