Korea’s digital classrooms…

…Are set to arrive by 2015.

Schoolchildren may soon be using digital textbooks after the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology announced Wednesday it will invest W2.2 trillion by 2015 to create an environment where students can study using better and more interactive content anytime and anywhere.

This might seem pretty good at first glance. No more cumbersome textbooks. Access to further reading resources, FAQs and a central database… all right then and there in the classroom.*

But the disadvantages may well end up outweighing the advantages.

First, there’s that cost – around two billion AUD, and computers become obsolete pretty quickly. Also, only low-income families will be able to receive the tablets or notebooks.

The ministry plans to provide free tablet PCs for students from low-income families.

Ergo, most parents will have to hand over a lot of money; a big change from the current system whereby students receive their textbooks for free, and notebooks cost about 50 cents.

The other problem, of course, will be monitoring exactly what the students will be looking at on those screens. With internet access and a whole host of other features, it’s a big call to say all the students will be focused on the material the teacher wants them to be focused on at any given time.

As a teacher, I can tell you it’s hard enough making sure the kids don’t have a comic book or another subject’s homework hidden under their textbook. What about when that comic is one quick click away from disappearing, well before the teacher can see the student’s monitor?

That said, they’ll also be opportunities for students who missed a class or are in hospital to access the lesson online via an internet teacher (but that can already be done without having to place a computer on every kid’s desk).

Korean classrooms are already very interactive. There’s a large screen TV and computer in every classroom. For instance, all of the dialogues and some of the exercises are done using videos.

Some classes are already done using a teacher connected via webcam.

Even teaching robots have been trialed in some schools (white face, Filipino teacher “behind” that face).

Thus, this latest move is probably inevitable, however I don’t yet see it being necessarily better than a teacher writing on a whiteboard and a student writing in a notebook.

The ministry says the transition should be easy because the kids are so computer literate these days. Indeed they are… more so than many of the teachers.

*Wouldn’t that be better done at home with their parents so the students can focus on the actual lesson at hand? You know what happens when kids are given the opportunity to self study?

They don’t.

You know what I looked up in the language lab of my swish high school that had decked it out with computers?


Yes, that’s right.



PS Sound familiar to something happening back home?

  1. Hi,
    Personally I don’t think this is a good idea at all. It seems like an awful lot of money, and the kids really won’t gain anything as far as I can see. I agree with what you have said, how can you possibly be sure what they are really looking at.

    • Red, white and blue
    • July 6th, 2011

    The leftists in America have tried the self study approach. It went along with clinton’s education 2000 program. They think it’s more important for the student to feel good about themselves than to have to deal with getting a bad grade or not knowing the answer to a question (2+2=5, Oh Johnny! That was a great answer. Good job!). It’s part of the dumbing down of the education system.

    • Same sh*t happens in Australia, mate. The kids think they’re the best thing since Wild Turkey Rare Breed to the despair of companies wanting to employ them as it turns out a great many can’t do basic arithmetic nor construct a sentence properly.

      Said losers do make good activists, however.

      I doubt any of what has happened has been a mistake.

      Seriously, we had our first ever pro tax, pro Big Government rallies (yes, plural) in Australia just recently.

      A world first.

      How progressive.

    • PS the weird thing is this is coming from Lee Myung bak, a bloke on the Right in Korea.

      That said, Korean kids would arguably not abuse the system as much as kids back home (imagine if the LED screens we have at some bus stops here we’re installed back home), but still…

      The program wouldn’t load today in class and shock horror, I had to use the whiteboard instead. Result? The kids learned exactly the same.

      I think it’s time for a video flashback…

        • Sean of Deer Park
        • July 6th, 2011

        Too funny. I needed that!

        • Didn’t we all.

          Now. State of Origin game 3 time. Life goes on.

          LOL, interesting name that uploader has…

        • minicapt
        • July 6th, 2011

        Blackboards, son, that’s the real thing; and proper white chalk, colours were for kiddies.


        • That’s exactly what I don’t get.


          Gets on your clothes but no big problemo. No big eco disaster chalk bio-epidemic going on.

          Whiteboards. Not too bad but kinda sucks of you get those markers on your shirt.

          These days, they have these fucking bio-boards.

          Fucking bio-“green” boards. The bio markers fucking suck. Kids can’t see what you’re writing. They run out pronto. The fucking bio erasers need to be wet, which creates mold, all of which waste valuable teaching time.

          The bio blackboards are even worse. Fuck they suck. Sticky fucking nasty bio-chalk, and then you gotta essentially wash the board, leaving smears of bio shite all over it, before waiting for the board to dry before you can continue.

          It’s fucking retarded.

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