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ACU lands Apple Distinguished Program honor

By on January 19, 2012 in Academic News, Alumni News, Campus News

Abilene Christian University’s award-winning mobile-learning initiative has helped the university land another honor as an Apple Distinguished Program, it was announced yesterday. ACU is one of 49 programs across the nation – and only nine among colleges and universities – to be recognized as a center of educational excellence and leadership.

Dr. William Rankin, director of academic innovation and associate professor of English, had this to say about the Apple recognition:

The mobile-learning initiative, ACU Connected, has helped the university become known around the world as a thought-leader and source of valuable information to help guide educators discover the advantages of integrating technology into the classroom – wherever the classroom might be and however it is defined in the future.

Three individuals at ACU are already recognized as Apple Distinguished Educators (ADE): Rankin; George Saltsman (’90), executive director of innovation in learning and educational technology; and Dr. Kyle Dickson (’93), director of the Learning Studio and associate professor of English. Rankin was named an ADE in 2009 and in 2010, was added to the ADE Board of Directors. Saltsman and Dickson were named ADEs in 2011. The ADE designation means Apple considers them educational innovators who share ideas and best practices with others.

Rankin, Saltsman and Dickson are three of several ACU faculty and staff who are asked to make presentations on mobile learning around the world each year. Last October, Rankin was in the United Arab Emirates to present during TEDx Dubai at the Dubai World Trade Center. His presentation, “Building Small: Considering the Architectures of Learning,” received rave reviews.

ACU’s 2010-11 Mobile-Learning Report provides insights into the university’s fourth year of innovative learning experiences with the help of Apple products such as the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, consulting relationships with leading independent software and educational solution providers, and research into the future of digital textbooks with partners such as Cambridge University Press and Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs.

Last February, more than 550 educators, technologists, administrators and policy-makers were on campus in Abilene for Connected Summit, one of the most popular international conferences on mobile learning. Keynote speakers included Karen Cator, director of educational technology for the U.S. Department of Education, and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

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