eCampus of the Month: Abilene Christian University

ACU gives iPhones and iPods to its 4,700 students.

Abilene Christian University (ACU), long a leading advocate for the use of web-ready mobile devices in higher education, is taking its tech savvy to K-12 schools, where students are becoming familiar with the ins and outs of tablets such as the Apple iPad.

ACU’s commitment to mobile technology has earned the 4,700-student institution the distinction of being eCampus News’s first eCampus of the Month, an award given to colleges and universities that push for more advanced and efficient use of educational technology, establishing national models for small and large schools alike.

Three students from ACU’s Teacher Education Department recently partnered with a local kindergarten teacher to introduce mobile devices to the class and document students’ familiarity with common mobile technology terminology such as “apps” and “upload.”

ACU education students helped the kindergartners develop digital stories using mobile devices, while observing the children and how they used each learning tool.

“We quickly realized that most, if not all, of the children viewed the iPod touch as just a way to play games,” said Jody Reese, a kindergarten teacher at Taylor Elementary School in Plano, Texas. “As they worked with their ACU students, they began to realize there is technology available beyond just these games.”

ACU officials said working with Taylor Elementary students was just the start of a larger initiative to partner with local K-12 schools. ACU students picked to work with elementary students will be given a “cart of iPads” to use in their work with youngsters, according to an ACU announcement.

Mitzi Adams, coordinator of field experiences and professional development for ACU’s Education Department, created an iPad math application that will be used by elementary students this spring.