The entire 'School of Informatics' will phase out old methods of taking attendance and seeks to integrate informal (and formal?) assessment, class resource access and project development using iPhones. I've only been able to find short blurbs in English, here in the Mainichi
You can piece together a few more details (and glean some ideas of what iPhone-U might look like from screenshots) in a blog post here.
The iPhones will reach 550 students and faculty members in the School of Informatics at Aoyama Gakuin University
, one of Tokyo's elite schools. As my wife explained it to me, "Aoyama Gakuin is like the NYU of Tokyo--celebrities, children of celebrities attend there, it's in a very hip neighborhood with access to chic cafes and great shopping etc, whereas Tokyo Daigaku is known to be a more rigorous school." (I couldn't get her to call it 'the Columbia of Tokyo'..') I thought that observation was interesting--when Softbank
scouted out a school to pilot full-phone-integration at, they went with Aoyama Gakuin.
I'm interested to see how their initial field-testing goes as they lead up to full-use in the autumn term. In the 1990's Japan had some of the highest access rates and registered web pages on the internet, but uniquely primarily from mobile phones rather than personal computers. This figure has changed, but anyone who has spent time in Japan will tell you what a mobile phone (keitai) based culture exists there. Will the graft from social/work life to college work? Will new literacy practices and uses of the iPhone emerge from teacher and student ingenuity? How will the GPS-enabled phones make the importance of attendance a factor of assessment (the school plans to phase out attendance and instead rely on GPS to see who is on campus.)??