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ACU looks at uses for iPad

With the recent announcement of Apple’s new iPad device, ACU is considering the implications of this device – and other similar ones that may follow it – for the future of mobile learning on campus.
The Abilene Reporter-News ran an article on Friday detailing some of the university’s plans, which include working to make The Optimist student newspaper available to view on the iPad. The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Department of Art and Design, and the School of Information Technology and Computing are working together on this project.
Because mobile devices are spreading throughout society at a great rate, and being used for so many different purposes, it is important to consider the implications of increased use, said George Saltsman, director of the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning at ACU.
In Fall 2010, all full-time undergraduate ACU students will have mobile devices, enabling them to participate fully in the university’s mobile-learning initiative (see this post for more details). The university will continue to choose six Mobile-Learning Fellows each year from among its faculty, providing each Fellow with a stipend and an expense budget allowing them to pursue special research projects related to mobile learning. Past and current Mobile-Learning Fellows have done research in fields ranging from business to chemistry to marriage and family therapy, and future Fellows will continue to pursue research in their disciplines.
The university will soon have 20 of the devices available for faculty to explore opportunities for their use, focusing on the publishing and use of digital textbooks.
“We know that publishing is moving digital,” said Dr. Bill Rankin, director of educational innovation and an associate professor of English. “And so, what are the implications for us in how we make assignments and how students engage with these things? We want to be doing the research that helps us move in that direction.”