The South Korean government have announced that by 2015, they will move from physical textbooks across to digital content, and will move their national academic tests online too. The plan is to digitise all primary school subjects by 2014, and high schools by 2015. That’s not the only disruptive activity planned – they also plan to encourage students to take the ‘University Level Program’, allowing students to take higher level courses, and also run after-school programmes using IP TV to teach foreign languages, multiculturalism and other subjects.
It’s a big bold step – early research has shown that simply handing out ebooks and digital texts to students isn’t necessarily going to improve things – so it will be very interesting to watch what happens.
I’ve noticed my laptop backpack has been getting lighter recently (my new laptop gives me an all-day battery, so now all I need to carry is my laptop, wireless mouse, and paper notepad), but I’ve also noticed that my daughters’ backpacks are getting heavier. It’s because they now have a school laptop, alongside all of their exercise books and text books – as well as lunch, water and sports gear. Some days their load weighs more than 10 kilos. So perhaps what’s being proposed in South Korea is part of the answer – to replace some things with other things, rather than to merely keep adding things.