‘Technologically savvy’ universities give free iPhones to students

Imagine if the University of Miami gave new Apple 3G iPhones to all incoming freshman as a way to adopt the latest technology. Sadly, that’s not happening here, but at Abilene Christian University in Texas and a handful of other universities, that’s exactly what they’re doing. 

By using wireless technology provided by AT&T in classrooms, students are capable of enabling real-time student polling and in-depth tracking, analysis and graphing of responses. Those students can also respond to classroom surveys and polls and have results displayed immediately. 

“I think it’s a sign that universities are becoming more technologically savvy, and they have to be if they want to attract the cream of the crop when it comes to incoming freshman,” said Nefra-Ann MacDonald, a senior who owns an iPhone. 

“The interactive response system is the latest example of our commitment to bring innovative technologies into the classroom for practical use by professors, teachers and students,” said Carl Done, vice president of Sales and Education for AT&T. 

These phones can work within a traditional classroom environment and for distance learning. For those teachers that require expensive clickers, a mobile application can be used on Web-enabled AT&T smart phones, eliminating the need for clickers or other classroom equipment. 

According to Turning Technologies, a developer of interactive response systems, more than 1,700 colleges and universities use the student response systems, but some students disagree with its use. 

“The claim that the university would use them as clickers to answer questions in class is a valid argument, although I am sure that there are cheaper alternatives than paying for all-new iPhones, such as in-class instruments that serve the same purpose,” said iPhone user Sebastian Lewis, a senior.