Paris, Cambridge, England; Abilene, Texas – April 12, 2010 - Abilene Christian University, Cambridge University Press and Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs have embarked on a joint research project whose intent is to set out a new path towards the future of publishing - from creation through distribution - by putting tools that enhance education in the hands of individuals.
For hundreds of years, educators have relied on static, standardised textbooks to deliver information to students. A new generation of mobile devices is changing the education landscape, offering students opportunities for dynamic, individualised learning. With the advent of converged mobile technologies (epitomised first by Apple's iPhone and iPod touch mobile digital devices and most recently by the introduction of Apple’s iPad tablet computer) the three organisations have been analysing what it means to read, write, and publish in the learning space in the digital age. The three-year research project extends collaboration that has been underway for almost a full year as all sides worked to understand the impact of new technologies.
These tools will be based on a core set of software prototypes the three parties are developing that will add a new dimension to the learning experience. They will stimulate insight by presenting users with a diverse range of content – images, text, audio, and video – all on the same device, engaging users with serendipitous access to information. These tools will support a level of personalisation and customisation necessary for effective learning.
‘Our work with digital publishing and media is a natural outgrowth of our work in mobile learning,’ says Dr William Rankin, ACU's director of educational innovation. ‘Imagine not just having “a thousand songs in your pocket”, but a thousand libraries. This represents not just a change in the transmission and consumption of information, but also a change in culture.’ Abilene Christian University, the first academic institution in the world to announce a university-wide learning initiative that leverages a new generation of mobile devices, to offer students and faculty opportunities to experiment with emerging forms of social, informational, and media access.
‘Cambridge University Press did not become one of the world’s most respected publishers by standing still. We are committed to finding new ways to deliver our content and engage students and faculty,’ says Eric Baber, Innovations Director of the Press's New Directions Group. ‘Just as the advent of printing transformed education, this new generation of digital devices and the access they enable will also be transformative. We welcome the new capabilities that the iPad affords learners and researchers around the world. All of our journals and over 6,000 books are already available in electronic format, including on handheld devices, and we believe that new multimedia capabilities add a layer of information and engagement not previously possible.’
‘Together with our partners, we have the opportunity today to create the future of publishing and media for learning and education. As books move increasingly into the digital world, Bell Labs is inventing new technologies that will enhance the relationship between students, teachers, writers and publishers. Adding social communications to eBooks will create a new generation of social media,’ notes Bruno Aidan, Head of Bell Labs Applications Research. " ‘Bell Labs’ contribution to this project represents a significant step forward for Alcatel-Lucent’s Applications Enablement strategy whose intent is to enhance the value of network assets for applications providers”, he adds.
In developing the program, the three parties will play complementary roles: Bell Labs will conduct technical research and develop the prototypes. Cambridge University Press will provide content, detail service requirements and validate integration. Abilene Christian University will evaluate user requirements, conduct technical experiments and validate usage patterns and results with a base of on-campus users.
‘At the heart of all of our work together -- both what we've already done and what we're committed to doing over the next few years -- goes toward helping students and faculty participate more richly in the creation, development, and publication of information,’ says George Saltsman, executive director of the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning at ACU. ‘We know that increased access is going to change how and even where we teach and learn, and we're working to understand that.’ Although the partners agree that the changes will be disruptive, they are convinced there is no cause for fear. ‘When printing was first introduced, many worried about the impact it would have on education, but the influx of new participants and the invention that followed changed the world for the better,’ Rankin adds. ‘We're convinced these new approaches are going to create a similar wave of creativity.’
Notes for Editors
About Abilene Christian University
After a decade of considering what it means to read, write, publish, teach, and learn in the new digital epoch, Abilene Christian University launched a first-in-the-world mobile learning initiative in 2008. The initiative creates opportunities for students and faculty to experiment with new forms of social, informational, and media access on next-generation digital platforms including the iPad, on which The Optimist, ACU’s student-run newspaper is scheduled to be available in early April.
ACU is the co-creator of the Consortium for Innovation & Research in Converged Learning (CIRCL) a free community-supported network of researchers, professors, teachers and other education professionals who are engaged in mobile and converged learning practice and research.
In 2009, the New Media Consortium named ACU a Center of Excellence for its mobile-learning program. Also in 2009, Forbes magazine rated ACU in the top seven percent of colleges and universities in the USA. Some 4,800 students attend ACU, including 900 graduate students, generally from 49 states and provinces, and about 40 nations. For more information, visit external linkwww.acu.edu/connected
Abilene Christian University Press Contacts
Liz Anderson, Tel: + 254 772 590
About Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge, one of the world’s leading research institutions. It is the oldest publisher and printer in the world, having been operating continuously since 1584. The Press's mission is to further through publication and printing the University’s objective of advancing learning, knowledge and research worldwide. Today, this mission is realised through not only publishing excellent materials, but also by committing to innovation and enterprise. To help the Press develop its leadership in digital publishing and new forms of learning, a new department was established in 2008 called the New Directions Group. The group is made up of a team of education technology experts and their remit is to ensure that the Press remains at the forefront of technological advances, and to lead development of innovative products and applications. For further information about the Press, go to external linkwww.cambridge.org
iPhone, iPod touch and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc.
Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) is the trusted transformation partner of service providers, enterprises, strategic industries such as defense, energy, healthcare, transportation, and governments worldwide, providing solutions to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end-users. A leader in fixed, mobile and converged broadband networking, IP technologies, applications and services, Alcatel-Lucent leverages the unrivalled technical and scientific expertise of Bell Labs, one of the largest innovation powerhouses in the communications industry. With operations in more than 130 countries and the most experienced global services organization in the industry, Alcatel-Lucent is a local partner with a global reach. Alcatel-Lucent achieved revenues of Euro 15.2 billion in 2009 and is incorporated in France, with executive offices located in Paris. For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent on the Internet: http://www.alcatel-lucent.com
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