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iPhone used by Japanese school to keep track of students and their attendance

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If American school children have to resort to some special mosquito ringtone to use cell phones at school, a university in Japan is doing the opposite: giving cell phones to students. And not just any cell phone–the iPhone 3G.

According to Asiajin, about 550 students and staff members in the School of Social Informatics at Tokyo-based university Aoyama Gakuin received the iPhone 3G for free earlier this month as part of their study materials.

This is the result of a deal that Aoyama Gakuin signed with SoftBank, the exclusive vendor of the iPhone in Japan. The number of students using the iPhone is expected to reach about 1,000. This is the first time a particular cell phone has been used on such a huge scale at a Japanese university.

The gadget will work as a study tool for students, but as it also comes with GPS, which the university plans to use to check student attendance. Truancy is a big problem in Japan, where regular attendance is an important factor in determining a student’s grade. Students often fake attendance by getting classmates to answer roll calls.

Several schools are now featuring the iPhone around the world in prominent and important roles, from studying to note taking to (now) attendance.


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