Iphones help prevent truancy in Japanese university

Chicago (IL) – A Japanese university has begun using iPhone GPS software to prevent truancy. Students who participate in the pilot program receive a free iPhone and are required to sign into a specially designed application before the start of each class.

The app prevents users from logging in from home or outside the classroom by cross-checking relevant GPS data and router access files.

“We don’t want to use this to simply take attendance,” Professor Yasuhiro Iijima of Aoyama Gakuin University told Reuters. “Our hope is to use this to develop a classroom where students and teachers can discuss various topics.”

Iijima also emphasized that the software would not be used to track the location of students or infringe on their privacy. Although Iijima conceded that Japansese cellphones may automatically send location data, he insisted that the iPhone prompted users for confirmation before transferring such information.

“With the iPhone, you must always confirm before the GPS data can be sent,” said Iijima.

As TG Daily previously reported, a number of universities have incorporated iPhones into the curriculum. For example, Missouri University recently ordered journalism students to purchase an iPhone or iPod Touch before the start of the new school year.

“Effective Fall 2009, students majoring in Journalism at Missouri are required to have either an iPod Touch (the minimum requirement) or iPhone to allow for the delivery of freshman-orientation information as well as course material. Students will electronically download such material to either of those devices from iTunes University, a no-cost component of the iTunes Store.

“The iPod Touch fulfills the requirement. The more expensive iPhone fulfills the requirement but is not required. The best solution if the student does not already have an iPod Touch or iPhone is to work with TigerTech, the MU computer store, to acquire one.

“The faculty has designated Apple Computer as its preferred provider for two primary reasons: (1) Apple’s OS X operating system is based on Unix, which makes these computers far less susceptible to viruses than other computers. Viruses are a serious problem on university campuses. (2) Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro computers come bundled with iLife, a suite of applications ideal for learning the basics of photo editing, and audio and video editing,” the university explained in a statement.