For students who get accepted to Abilene Christian University in Texas this spring, there's one more perk to enrolling: The college plans to give all first-year students an iPhone or an iPod touch. The university says "freshmen will use an iPhone or iPod touch to receive homework alerts, answer in-class surveys and quizzes, get directions to their professors' offices, and check their meal and account balances." Ummm...yeah. And, also, maybe to text their friends, download the latest episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and make phone calls when they could be studying. (BTW: No details on what that calling/data plan will be.)
Let's not forget Duke experimented with giving iPods to its freshmen four years ago. Of course, U.S. News investigated:
"Indeed, Duke dove headfirst into podcasting last year, giving every incoming freshman an iPod for educational purposes. But according to student surveys, they used the devices more for listening to audiobooks and their favorite hit songs. Lynne O'Brien of Duke's Center for Instrumental Technology insists the test was a success. But this year, the giveaway is confined to students enrolled in courses using the hip product—like Sally Schauman's environment and community class, which uses the iPods to record field notes."
Maybe Abilene knows something Duke doesn't? Regardless, looks like incoming Wildcats will score some hip swag.
— Kenneth Terrell