Sang Yoon Shin (2011) Smart Education in Korea: South Korea’s Making the Switch to Digital Textbooks Advanced Technology Korea, October 10
Anon (2012) Over half South Koreans use e-learning MySinchew.com, March 13
These two articles indicate the rapid growth of online learning in South Korea.
By 2015, paper textbooks will disappear in South Korean classrooms. The Ministry of Education, Science and technology will develop digital textbooks that include various multimedia data, apply them to elementary schools in 2014 and to middle and high schools in 2015, linking them to every kind of educational platform.
However, the Ministry faces a number of challenges. For instance, some teachers said that as long as entrance examinations for college (like the national college exam) persist as paper-based written tests, students have no choice but to grab paper and pen, instead of using tablets.
Consequently, the Ministrytook a step back, saying that they would use the existing book-type textbooks along with digital textbooks even after 2015. They are acknowledging that there are problems not only in the classrooms without Wi-Fi, which is required to view digital textbooks, but also in distributing tablets. But because the price for table PCs is going down, and the availability of Wi-Fi is still increasing, the Ministry believes that by 2015 the current difficulties will be resolved.
The second article report refers to a government report from the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, which claims that over half the South Korean population aged three or over used e-learning in 2011.
The ratio of schools using e-Learning systems in their official curricula rose to 82.3 percent last year (Note: South Korea is in the top 3 of the OECD’s PISA ratings for reading and math skills).
Combined sales by the country’s e-learning service operators rose 9.2 percent from a year earlier to about US$2.19 billion in 2011.
“To help further foster a niche for the e-Learning industry, the government will establish a support centre that will support the development of new smart learning systems,” the ministry said.
And where is Canada’s digital strategy?