Abilene Christian University (ACU) is to be among the first US higher education establishments to engage in new learning methods based on iTunes U and the iPod touch and iPhone.

As part of the new set-up. ACU has announced plans to provide an iPhone or an iPod touch to all incoming freshmen at the University.

Students 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 - among more than 15 other useful web applications already developed, said ACU chief information officer Kevin Roberts.

We are not merely providing cutting-edge technology tools to our incoming students," said Roberts. "We are also providing the web applications that ensure these tools will become critical to the students' learning experience. Because 93 per cent of ACU students bring their own computers with them to college, we are choosing to take them to the next level by providing converged mobile devices."

Dr. Dwayne VanRheenen, ACU provost, said, "This is exciting to me, not only because we're giving students new tools, but because we are transforming the learning environment. The extensive research that's been done on campus in the past 10 months has prepared us to launch with freshmen this fall, and research will be ongoing as we expand the program in the future."

ACU's vision for technology has been captured in a film called 'Connected,' available online along with information about ACU's other mobile learning efforts.