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Education Portables (Apple) Wireless Networking Hardware

University Tries "One iPhone Per Student" 281

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the enrollment-and-dropout-numbers-to-spike dept.
alphadogg writes to tell us that one freshman class has a little more than usual to be excited about. When students at Abilene Christian University showed up for their first days of class they were greeted with the choice of either a new iPhone 3g or an iPod Touch plus a package of custom web apps to use on them. "The hardware is part of the Texas university's pilot mobile learning project, which has been gestating for over a year. About 650 first-year students chose the iPhone, and about 300 the iPod Touch, which is a very similar device but without the 3G radio (both devices incorporate an 802.11g Wi-Fi adapter). ACU pays for the hardware, student (or their parents) select and pay for their monthly AT&T service plan."
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University Tries "One iPhone Per Student"

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  • Awful idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TheIzzy (615852) on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:31PM (#25359941)

    Awful idea.

    If I wanted one, I would buy one myself. Decrease tuition, let people buy whatever type of cellphone they want.

  • by Theanswriz42 (458434) on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:32PM (#25359957)

    Doesn't sound like this is going to do much for "mobile learning". Nice gimmick though....

  • by slapyslapslap (995769) on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:32PM (#25359959)
    ...that keeps pushing up the cost of a college education.
  • by bigjarom (950328) on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:32PM (#25359969) Journal
    How much is Apple (or AT&T) paying said university to distribute these little profit-machines to these gullible students? Not that I wouldn't fall for it too, but honestly! I guess on the surface it's a win-win-win situation, but I can't help but think that someone is being taken advantage of.
  • Intriguing Idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jivemonkey (776115) on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:34PM (#25359997) Homepage

    When I first heard about this idea a few months ago, I knew that there would be some interesting consequences. Being that I graduated from ACU in December of '06, I know many of the people involved and have heard stories about what it takes to accomplish such a task.

    ACU had to re-implement much of it's wireless structure in order to accommodate all of the new devices and ensure that students would have wireless coverage at every conceivable place on campus.

    It will be interesting to see how it pans out and whether or not it works as well as the faculty and staff have envisioned.

  • Why all the hate (Score:5, Interesting)

    by servognome (738846) on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:43PM (#25360121)
    The school is conducting a trial with a piece of hardware, maybe students will find interesting new ways to use it.
    Sure the majority will use it to goof off, but it's possible a couple resourceful students come up with something useful and everybody gains. Is it the absolute best way to use resources, maybe not; but it's quite a neat capable platform and only time will tell what interesting things students can come up with.
  • Re:Rates (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kemanorel (127835) on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:53PM (#25360253)

    I didn't know that the iPod or iPhone was limited to one OS. That's so very odd...

    Oh wait, it's not. Get off you anti-Apple soapbox and grow up a bit.

    This is similar to a grant awarded to the 7-8 Jr. High School I teach at to give every student a Palm for a year. Didn't work too well, but then again, the software we had wasn't what we needed, we had minimal support, and 12~14 year olds are considerably more immature than college freshmen... Well, maybe not that much less mature, but you get the point. It didn't work well 5-ish years ago, but maybe the software and support has caught up with the theory.

  • by nawcom (941663) on Monday October 13, 2008 @03:59PM (#25360351) Homepage
    One thing that is interesting is that there are a large number of Roman Catholics that do acknowledge that. But other than that, every branch attached to Protestantism seems to follow the concept that the bible speaks the truth, and scientific theory is as theoretical as the theory that there are tunnels in the north and south pole that connect in the center of the earth. I completely disregard anything related to religion in my life. And that includes the so called morals from religion. I guess I'm good enough that i don't need to follow any rule to get that tolerance is the key to many issues.
  • by sunking2 (521698) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:13PM (#25360533)

    One can only hope that the college bubble bursts like all others do. College costs are more than slightly linked to the housing boom. People could draw more credit from their house than before in order to send to ludicrously priced colleges, so tutions went crazy. This is no longer the case. Now its a matter of convincing the administrations that they know longer have the money pool available and need to actually think about running on a realistic budget.

    Unfortunately, this sort of thing is slow to react. I'm just hoping it actually does before my daughter starts in 4 years. Depending what happens after this sugar high in the market today there may still be a lot of people who are down 50% in their college funds. And with banks not lending its going to have to affect tuitions at some point. All bubbles burst at some point, even when it comes to providing for your kids who deserver everything they want.

  • Re:Coming... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:15PM (#25360571)
    Yeah, useful in coding like in how to agree an NDA and a non-competing agreement, be forced to buy a mac to develop and learn about vendor lock-in... The other useful thing nontraditional photography or how take photos with a crappy camera is a really useful one, don't forget the important lessons about piracy, and how to take notes in pen and paper because the recording is crappy and the text input is too slow.
  • What is wrong? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by teh nDn (1382681) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:17PM (#25360599)
    It's similar to issuing laptops in high schools. No costs for textbooks and easier to manage... This is actually a great idea
  • by kabocox (199019) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:19PM (#25360627)

    The real headline should be something along the lines of freshmen class of Abilene Christian University all required to pay for brand new iPhones.

    When I read the "New York Times Says Thin Clients Are Making a Comeback" headline, I thought of cellphone/pda apps. Considering books cost me around $300 a semester back in 1996-2000 and all the other ways that the university tried to leech a buck off my family, I'm not surprised that a college is doing something like this. This sounds and looks like a decent killer app for cell phones/PDAs.

    I'm kinda sad though. I'd have thought that we'd have figured out how to get all this done, and my kids using this in elementary school right now. I'm really sad that colleges are just now getting there. I remember back in 1998 when my college just started their web app for signing up for classes. It was much, much better than their telephone system that they'd used before hand. We loved it.

    My kids public school has a web app that'll show their 9 weeks grades and an event calendar. O.k. it's nice that they have anything, but still as a parent and tax payer, I'd want all their text books to be in pdf and able to be saved, viewed, printed, quoted from anywhere. I'd also want teachers grade books and PTA meetings online as well. There is a part of me that thinks class rooms need forums or a school running their own version of facebook, yet geared more along the lines of keeping track of all of a student's progress, projects, entire school history, homework, quizes, & test history for everything there, and doing it as a glorified year book. Especially to pound it into the student's head, that this is to make you and us look "good"! ;)

  • watch your pockets! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MattMattMatt (1273714) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:48PM (#25361145)
    ahh, a pickpocket's heaven. no matter who you grift, you'll atleast walk away with a $200 ipod!
  • Re:Rates (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Monday October 13, 2008 @04:53PM (#25361209) Journal

    They do have their choice of music player and phone. The students would just have to buy it themselves. The purpose of this program isn't to provide a music player or a phone. The purpose is to provide a mobile platform that provides support for their custom apps, a web browser that's usable for research on the go, and a video player that integrates with iTunes U for podcast video content of lectures and support material. You could halfway do some of that with a device from another manufacturer, but you'd have to work at it and it would always be a kludge. Think of it as the school providing a learning tool that just happens to come with your choice of a free music player or a free phone.... :-)

    P.S. AFAIK, iTunes should work in recent versions of Wine, complete with iPod/iPhone syncing.

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:05PM (#25361375)

    as a parent and tax payer, I'd want all their text books to be in pdf and able to be saved, viewed, printed, quoted from anywhere.

    This alone would have been awesome back in the early 90's. We had BBS's back then. Since the students weren't allowed to go to our lockers (Lockers can hide drugzngunz!) during the day, we had to carry all of our books everywhere. Leaving the books in the classrooms, then dialing a school BBS to read the material at home would have been uber-cool.

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:08PM (#25361433) Homepage Journal

    Oh it was about 20 years ago. Maybe it was just her. Very sweet girl and a good friend.
    So yes it was a long time ago and there could have been some miscommunication. Maybe it was that she was going out dancing at a club that served alcohol?
    The orginal post had nothing to do with dancing. I was posting that an application that would tell you who was sleeping with whom at ACU should be.
    a. Useless
    or
    b. a directory of married students.
    Of course I could be overly optimistic.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:16PM (#25361523)

    I know a lot of you will be complaining about the associated costs with giving all of the students an iPhone, but I'll point out (as an Abilene Native) that I'd be very, very surprised if anyone that actually attends ACU would bat an eyelash at another bill. Those kids are RICH rich.

  • Re:Wait... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13, 2008 @05:16PM (#25361533)
    Students who don't have a device in 2 years when they are replaced will be charged for the device. Part of a contract they sign.
  • by fm6 (162816) on Monday October 13, 2008 @06:12PM (#25362111) Homepage Journal

    You might catch a few people before they go in harm's way ...

    Didn't I meet you during the design meetings for the Titanic? You were the one that said, "Liveboats are useless, they won't stop the ship from sinking."

  • by blues_shuffle (921429) on Monday October 13, 2008 @08:35PM (#25363429)
    One of the biggest (in retrospect) security related problems that occurred at VTech was the second "attack." There was a two hour period after the first shooting in which no shooting occurred. During this two hour period, there was no way to warn the students about the shootings and give security advice/information. The main way that a university communicates with its students is via e-mail, but most students do not check their e-mail midday because they are in lectures. The second set of students who were shot could've been saved if there was a more rapid security bulletin delivery system in place.
    There has been a shift in security information delivery systems in universities lately, in response to the VTech problems. My university has installed centrally controlled LCD screens in the highly trafficked areas on campus. This is another such method of enabling rapid deployment of important information. If every student has a PDA, the university can know for sure that security bulletins can be delivered quickly.
    So actually, yes. This can prevent another attack.

A sheet of paper is an ink-lined plane. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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