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South Korea classrooms to go fully digital by 2015

Thursday, July 28, 2011 - 02:25

July 28 - South Korea is pushing forward with a plan to completely digitize its classrooms by 2015. The US$2.1 billion plan calls for supplying every student in the country with a digital tablet replacing traditional textbooks. The tablets will give the students access to a massive cloud-based network where students can learn online, even when they are sick at home. Ben Gruber reports.

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STORY: If all goes according to plan, in four years time every child in South Korea will learn in a digital environment. The days of textbooks, pens and pencils will be over and replaced by tablets, laptops and smartphones. The transition is already underway. In this 6th grade classroom in Seoul, students are already using laptops and interactive multimedia presentations to do most of their learning. 13-year old Kim Seong-gwag says he loves his laptop. He is attending one of the 132 schools the South Korean Ministry of Education is using as a testing ground for the digital plan. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) 13-YEAR-OLD KIM SEONG-GWANG SAYING: "I can do internet searches. Also, I prefer experiencing directly to just writing. I feel like printed textbooks are old." Lee Geon-min teaches the class and says the new digital teaching tools make his job easier. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) 43-YEAR-OLD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER LEE GEON-MIN SAYING: "When I teach a class with digitized textbooks, I don't have to prepare extra curriculum. Also if I need extra materials I could find it online, so it is very convenient." The $2.1 billion (USD) plan calls for a lot more than just supplying students with digital books. The Education Ministry is creating a cloud-based network that will hold the learning material for the entire country online. So if a student can not physically attend class he can still access lesson plans on the web. Kim Do-yeon is the director of digital information at the Education ministry. He admits the plan is bold but says South Korea, a country where more than 80 percent of households have broadband Internet access, is ready for the challenge. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) KIM DO-YEON, DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION INFORMATION MANAGEMENT DIVISION AT MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, SAYING: "The students are more familiar with digital culture, so if our country pushes ahead with the 'Smart Education' plan it can be settled in faster and come out successful." If the plan proves successful, South Korea will be the first country to completely digitize it's education system and with that excuses like "the dog ate my home work", will be a thing of the past. Ben Gruber, Reuters.

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South Korea classrooms to go fully digital by 2015

Thursday, July 28, 2011 - 02:25