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Abilene Christian Gets Infusion for Mobile Learning

Abilene Christian University in Texas is receiving an infusion of nearly $2 million to expand its mobile learning programs, including a mobile technology research program, an experimental lab, and a K-12 teacher professional development initiative.

ACU launched its ConnectED mobile learning initiative back in 2008 and currently centers it around Apple's iPhone and iPod touch devices. The overall goals of the initiative include fostering greater engagement of students and enhancing teaching and research through technology, as well as building connections between ACU and its community and other academic institutions.

The $1.8 million AT&T grant--being provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates--will help build the infrastructure and provide financing and resources to support three programs operating under the umbrella of the mobile learning initiative: the K-12 Professional Development Institute, the Mobile Learning Research Program, and the AT&T Learning Studio.

The K-12 institute is expected to serve as a professional development resource for primary and secondary teachers, designed to help them deploy and use mobile technologies to enhance teaching. According to ACU, it will serve an international K-12 constituency in addition to schools and districts in the United States. The university said it has received "statements of interest from school districts that represent [more than] 20 million students. The institute will include a prototype classroom overseen by two full-time professionals in ACU's Department of Teacher Education."

The Learning Studio, meanwhile, will serve as a "curricular laboratory designed to support mobile media experimentation and a center of innovation related to the educational uses of media enhanced learning materials in traditional and mobile settings," according to AT&T. And the Mobile Learning Research Program will study the effectiveness of mobile learning strategies.

Phil Schubert, executive vice president of ACU, explained that the technologies are helping to boost opportunities for learning--opportunities that have been limited in the past.

"For centuries, limited access to information has kept students from maximizing instructional opportunities," Schubert said in a statement released May 12. "Today's widespread access to information provided by global data networks and converged mobile media devices means our students are engaged in the learning process. With AT&T's support, we are poised to advance our vision and expand the boundaries for learning even further."

"Whether in K-12 or higher education, mobile learning strategies open up a whole new world of possibilities to transform instruction and drive learning outcomes. ACU's mobile broadband vision is making a difference in how students learn and they are committed to sharing their experience with others to contribute to the growing mobile learning community," said Xavier Williams, senior vice president for government, education, and medical markets at AT&T, also in a statement released today. "AT&T is committed to advancing the mission and cause of education. We are proud to support ACU, and look forward to collaborating with them to help shape the next generation of innovators, fueling this country's future success."

ACU serves about 5,000 graduate and undergraduate students. Further information about its mobile learning initiative can be found here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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