Some schools are giving away free Apple iPhones and internet-ready iPods to students. These universities could use these devices to send messages about classes, delays, crises, and even allow online research and instant polling in classes. And do not forget—hook a new generation of consumers to Apple products.
Like Duke University in 2004 which gave away free iPods to its incoming freshman class to foster effective use of new technology in higher education, universities such as University of Maryland, Oklahoma Christian University, Abilene Christian, and Freed-Hardeman hope that the iPhones and iPods will change the classroom for the better. However, some professors are balking at the possibility of students becoming distracted in class with the internet-capable devices and not participating.
Duke’s program evolved into the Duke Digital Initiative (DDI) and modified its program in 2005 to give only iPods to students enrolled in classes that use the device to enhance classroom materials. Students began from merely recording lectures into creating their own content and turning the passive learning environment into an active one. With time, these new programs with even more sophisticated devices will likely evolve into something that truly changes education.