University hands out iPhones to prevent students from ditching class

Kob030Tokyo’s Aoyama Gakuin University handed out free iPhones to all the staff and students at its School of Social Informatics &mdash not just to be nice, but to use the GPS function to make sure nobody’s ditching class. The system will be in full force by fall semester, when instructors will also start asking for homework and tests via iPhone. It’s part of provider Softbank’s web education training initiative, so the students aren’t being charged for any of it.


4 thoughts on “University hands out iPhones to prevent students from ditching class

  1. This iPhone thing is actually pretty insulting to the students. I’m all for using the device to enhance studies, but the intention to use it as a form of policing them seems wrong. Do Japanese University Students pay for their education like North American students? Canadian University courses run upwards of $500 per individual course. Knowing this, I took issue with the few profs that would pull stunts like having a pop quiz on assigned readings at the beginning of each class to ensure full attendance. It was my money and my GPA and I was an adult, not a child that needed adult supervision in my studies lest I fail miserably from lack of attendance.

  2. The system in Japan is quite different. Getting in is hard getting out is easy. It’s 4 years to play before becoming a shakaijin.
    In many Japanese universities you can miss a great deal of the semester and still pass.
    This is actually an example of putting a band-aid on a severe wound, akin to Alex Kerr’s Dogs & Demons. Rather than try to change the classes to make them engaging and interesting to the students they are trying to use a buzz gadget to cover their failure.

  3. Hi Lisa,
    I’m a writer for, a pretty prominent humor essay website. I was working up an article on “Crazy Japanese Video Games”, but I felt that sort of thing has been done a million times before. What I would love is to find out why these seemingly crazy games get made and what nuance of Japanese culture explains their popularity.
    If you could contribute your insight on 6 or 7 games, even if it is just 2 or 3 sentences each, it would make all the difference. I would happily link to this blog or whatever you’d like attention on. These articles typically do 300,000 – 500,000 hits in the first few days and into a million if they are popular, so hopefully it would be worthwhile exposure for you.
    Please let me know if you’d be interested.