In an exceptionally large, expensive and eco-conscious effort, South Korea is investing W2.2 trillion (US$1=W1,077) in the production of digital textbooks for schools. The transition is expected to be completed by 2015 and the books will not only include the required reading textbooks, but also additional resources and multimedia learning tools.
Tablets will be provided to students and a large computing system will be used so all students can access all textbooks at any time. Low income students will receive free tablets, and online classes will be encouraged so it is easier for students who missed class to catch up on school work.
Environmentally speaking, this is wonderful. I’m all for going digital because textbooks are a pain to carry and they are made up of obscene amounts of paper. New editions come out and after a year or two a 1,000 page book becomes completely useless. Secondly, this gives students all the resources they could possibly need at the tip of their fingers.
However, how much easier does this make it for students to cheat on their homework? I guess students can already Google something if they want to know the answer, but if they are allowed to use these during exams as a resource, doesn’t this give them unlimited means to find the answer?
Hopefully they can disconnect from any Internet connection in a situation like this, or hopefully teachers have some control over what is available for students while in their class. As long as it doesn’t hinder the learning experience, this is a very positive and progressive move.
Image CC licensed by Mosman Library