Free iPhones, or: I wonder if Abilene Christian U is hiring a Victorianist?

Apparently ACU has decided to give free iPhones to all incoming students.  Before scoffing too much, check out their comprehensive page of resources.  They’ve clearly been thinking about ways to embed new communications tools deeply into the campus culture, which I think is a sound approach.

This is different from Duke giving everyone an iPod: When every single student in a class has a handheld internet communicator, you really can start thinking about the use of class time in a different way.  Actually, you *have* to start thinking about it differently–no more standing at the front and reading your PowerPoint slides!

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3 Responses to Free iPhones, or: I wonder if Abilene Christian U is hiring a Victorianist?

  1. Brian says:

    The accompanying videos are of dubious artistic quality, but the idea in general is interesting. One assumes that Apple or AT&T would be giving the campus a large break on the cost of the iPhones because of all the new subscription revenue.

  2. Heather says:

    Saw your interview in the Chronicle re: Twitter. So, is the idea for students to Twitter or whatever during class? This seems like it would lead to chaos without some intervention.

  3. jbj says:

    It is true that good planning’s still necessary! Some people have talked about using Twitter during class–perhaps having people forward questions/feedback to a Twitter address monitored by, for example, a TA, who could represent the voice of the class.

    There is already a pretty well-established body of practice and theory about backchannel communications (I think I first heard of it here).

    I don’t know whether students Twittering their way through a 50-minute class is ideal, but “an iPhone in every pocket” might also let one rethink the purpose of those 50 minutes, making even bigger or introductory classes more seminar-esque.

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