About a month ago I heard about the newly announced iPhone higher education mobility project at Abilene Christian University, in Abilene, Texas. The ACU website “Mobile Learning and the Connected Campus” includes a link to the fifteen and a half minute movie “Connected,” which is a vision of how iPhones are being deployed today at ACU to digitally connect students to peers, professors, course content, and many other aspects of college life. I took some time (at last) to watch this entire video, and I am both impressed and excited at the prospects this video suggests.The video is a carefully formatted and scripted production, but still quite impressive as a vision for utilizing mobile technologies in transformative ways for learning. I was particularly interested in the comments made by ACU instructors in the video. Students were provided with choices right in class, which they responded to as polls on their iPhone right away. Students self-selected a hybrid version of a class which included both online discussions and face-to-face meetings, or a more traditional seminar-style class that met entirely face-to-face. Students were encouraged to use their iPhone as a digital voice recorder to conduct interviews, as well as take photographs for a class project. I especially picked up on the comment, by one of the students, that most of the course lectures were provided in advance of class so the face-to-face time could be utilized for discussions and interaction. This is a vision of 21st century blended learning, powered by ubiquitous student access to iPhones as well as professors adapting their pedagogic approaches to instruction in ways which appropriately leverage the transformative learning potential of mobile devices.Wow.In upcoming weeks, I’m hoping to be able to make a face-to-face visit to ACU to learn more about this project and the current implementation successes as well as challenges instructors and administrators are facing. This is a VERY exciting vision, and it’s great to see Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas, charting a bold course for digitally connected and relevant learning in the 21st century for higher education institutions around the world.The ACU website “Convergence and the 21st-Century Classroom” provides a fantastic overview of how convergence CAN impact and change teaching and learning in the 21st century, particularly when students have 1 to 1 access to mobile technologies. The table comparing 20th and 21st century instructional dynamics is particularly good. For continuing updates on the ACU mobile and blended learning project, check out and subscribe to the ithinked.com blog.ACU faculty and students, the eyes of Texas and the WORLD are upon you! :-) Technorati Tags:, , , , , , , ,


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  • http://www.whschaps.com/dweeb Joel Adkins

    My alma-mater, ACU! I am so happy that they are doing this and on the forefront of technology with their students. I was excited to read about their joint venture with Itunes last year and in helping develop ItunesU just for ACU.

    I only wish it were retroactive for alumni!

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  • http://www.allthingsreform.org David Weller

    Yes, this is exciting here in Abilene where I live.. you know, we not only have ACU, but McMurry U, Hardin-Simmons U., CJC, Texas Tech College, a graduate engineering school from Texas Tech and also a nursing college and a pharmacy school in town. McMurry actually was first to jump in student technology a few years ago when they introduced a laptop for all their students in a campus-wide program. I guess a little competition among rivals is always good!

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