The phrase, "Students, take out your iPhones," may become commonplace on college campuses across the country. At least four of them, anyway, according to the New York Times.
This fall, several higher learning institutions are equipping students with an iPhone or iPod Touch. Co-eds will rely on these devices for information on classes, campus news and events, and contacting peers or professors.
These four schools are part of the iPhone League:
As we reported, Abilene Christian University pioneered this new interactive learning movement, handing out close to a thousand iPhones and iPod Touches to incoming freshmen. ACU has big plans to transform its campus into a haven for learning via convergence devices, as portrayed in Connected: The Movie. They’ve already made the first, monumental leap towards that ideal. (Check out ACU Mobile on your iPhone.)
Unlike ACU, University of Maryland’s iPhone hand-out is much more selective, with only 150 lucky students receiving shiny new interactive learning tools. UM’s MIND Lab is currently in the process of porting a version of its MyeVyu campus safety program for the iPhone. The result of this test run is contingent upon whether or not UM will become an iPhone friendly campus for all students.
Oklahoma Christian University is in the process of fully "Mac-ing Out" its campus. Aside from implementing its Macbook Initiative, OCU is welcoming students with a new iPhone or iPod Touch. The school will be launching its own mobile web application ("InTouch") and upgrading its existing educational software programs for iPhone and iTouch use.
Freed-Hardeman University has established the iKnow Initiative. Through this program, every FHU freshman will receive the ultimate welcome packet, which includes a MacBook, an iPhone or iPod Touch (their choice), and both Mac OSX and Windows Vista operating systems, among other programs and perks. Current students are also welcome to participate.
It’s admirable that these schools are committed to improving the quality of education and campus life through technology. An iPhone or iTouch containing a wealth of information at students’ fingertips is certainly a good thing, especially given the capabilities of those devices. However, promising students iPhones or iTouches seems gimmicky, sweetening the pot of enrollment so to speak. There are bound to be prospective students who choose to go to a school based on whether it gives out free* electronics. (Forget the curriculum-does the diploma come with an iPhone?)
(*Keep in mind that these schools are not offering these products and services for free; they will be reflected in tuition costs. Factor in loans, plus interest…all of a sudden you have an iPhone worth thousands of dollars!)