|Image source: Yonhap. A Korean student |
uses a digital textbook
The South Korean government has said it plans to digitise all textbooks for elementary, middle and high school students by 2015. This plan for "smart education" is aimed at helping students create their own study pattern, and lighten their backpacks. Some elementary school students are already getting their first taste of "smart education".
Student Jin Su Hyun said: "There are things that are difficult to understand in books, but it's much easier using computers and the touch pens because you can move things around".
The South Korean government said it hopes all students at elementary and secondary schools throughout the country will be doing this in the next few years.
The plan would cost about 2.23 trillion won, or about US$2 billion.
South Korea also wants to build an environment for an Internet-based computing system or cloud computing by 2015.
It will allow students to access data and software stored on servers through mobile devices such as smart phones without having to carry around personal computers.
Wireless Internet networks will also be installed in all schools.
Guil Elementary School researcher Kwan Chan Mi said: "It is going to be costly to develop the online textbooks and also acquire the tablet personal computers.
"And we also expect high costs in developing the contents since there will have to be more variety than the original textbooks".
Currently, 95 per cent of households in South Korea have broadband internet access and with smart phone users expected to reach about 20 million by the end of this year, South Korea has the environment to carry out this new plan successfully.
But because it's about education, there's more that's needed, as the country's Education Minister Lee Ju Ho recently explained
"What is more important is the teachers' capability, and whether it will be possible to change the way the classes are run right now," he said.
"It's very important to make sure that the two can work together."
Another concern is whether everyone will be able to afford the expensive digital devices.
Experts said it's important this new plan is thought out carefully before being implemented as it will put a further financial burden on Korean parents, and possibly create a divide among children in the classrooms.