By Lee Hyo-sik
Paper-based textbooks will likely disappear from elementary and secondary schools here by 2015 as students will learn English, math and other subjects through computers and other digital devices, the government said Wednesday.
In a report to President Lee Myung-bak, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, and the President’s Council on Information Strategies jointly unveiled “Smart Education Strategies,” aimed at enabling both students and teachers to more effectively engage in lectures and other learning activities.
The education ministry said it will secure 2.23 trillion won to build the necessary infrastructure and purchase personal computers and other digital devices over the next four years.
Under the plan, paper-based textbooks, reference books, dictionaries and other materials will be digitalized for elementary schools by 2014.
By 2015, all middle- and high-school students will take lessons using digital textbooks and online-based materials on computers, smartphones and other devices.
Meeting academic needs
The government also plans to construct wireless networks at all schools, allowing students and teachers to access all learning materials whenever and wherever they want using the cloud computing system.
Currently, most people store data on their personal computers, smartphones or USB flash drives. But with cloud computing, users store information on the server computer instead of their personal devices and work with the information through Internet.
“In line with rapidly advancing information technology and the popularity of smartphones and other digital devices, we decided to turn textbooks and other learning materials digital to create an environment in which teachers and students engage in more creative activities,” a ministry official said.
Digital textbooks will make it easier for teachers to prepare lectures and meet pupils’ academic needs, he said.
“For students, they can have access to what they want to study any time they want, which will greatly improve their learning efficiency. We expect the digitalization of textbooks to help lower households’ education-related expenditures, as well as reduce the demand for private tutoring,” the official said.
The ministry also plans to promote online lectures and evaluate students’ academic abilities through Internet-based tests in 2015, replacing paper-based ones.