South Korea schools go paperless
Electronic textbooks have been around for some time. But they have been confined to higher education contexts, and even so, implemented for selected subjects rather than entire school curricula.
Now, South Korea is pulling ahead in the ed-tech race with its plan to replace paper textbooks with tablets in all elementary and high schools by 2015. Significantly, the e-textbooks will teach custom-made e-learning programmes, instead of being mere pdf versions of the printed version.
There are key questions that South Korea (and any other country pondering a paperless education system) will need to ask itself:
- Will the move to e-textbooks lead to a digital divide between students who can afford expensive devices and resources, and those who cannot?
- How can schools transform themselves for the digital future? Areas for change include culture, competencies, training, resource management, assessment, student guidance, and policies and support (financial, technical, academic).
- How can all sectors of society—from education to government to civil groups to businesses—align themselves to support and advance this transformative initiative?