Monday, November 3, 2008

More iPhone Excitement at Educause 2008

I guess Steve Jobs already knows this, given the displays I’ve spotted in Apple retail stores recently. Enormous versions of iPhones quickly stop people who are walking by. That was certainly the case at Educause this year. While we didn’t actually have gigantic versions of my favorite phone, large on-screen replicas seemed to work almost as well, thanks to the iPhone simulator in the iPhone Developer's Toolkit.

We chose the simulator to present the customizations to Xythos created by Abilene Christian University (ACU) as a part of their campus-wide iPhone initiative. The iPhone team at ACU, lead by Dr. James Langford has really done some groundbreaking work turning the device into a true enterprise solution for a wealth of academic and administrative purposes. They truly deserve the recognition this project has received and it was no different on the Educause 2008 show floor. Crowds of onlookers literally blocked the walkways around the Xythos booth to see what they had done.

MyACU’s MyMobile Portal

(Navigating from the portal into an iPhone customized version of Xythos and opening a Quicktime video)

The interest in the “One iPhone for Every Student” project continued in packed meeting rooms off the show floor where ACU twice presented the project’s implementation and faculty use cases. For those institutions considering similar projects, I would encourage you to take a look at the resource links at the end of this post to learn more.

The most common comment I heard after these sessions (following various expressions of jealousy) was “When will this be ready for Blackberry’s?” Hopefully, some of the institutions standardized on that platform will see that anything is indeed possible when they choose open standards-based software technologies like Liferay and Xythos.

While economic and political concerns may hinder projects like this at larger, state-funded institutions, those problems may begin to correct themselves as more students arrive on campus with their own iPhones, Blackberry Storms, or Google Android equipped devices. To get a picture of what this future might look like take a look at these ACU videos on YouTube:

"Connected" Part 1: Social Uses

"Connected" Part 2: Academic Uses

Recent ACU, iPhone and Xythos Articles:

iPhones go to front of the class at Texas university
CIO Magazine
iPhone University: At ACU, Students Navigate College Life via Apple iPhone
At ACU, students navigate college life via iPhone

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