Tuesday, February 26, 2008

[Korea.net News, Science / Tech, January 18 2008] Digital textbooks to debut this year

Elementary school students from this year will scroll and click through digital textbooks and interact with teachers online.

The Education and Human Resources Development Ministry and the Korea Education and Research Information Service said Thursday (Jan. 17) that 20 elementary schools as early as March will start using digital textbooks for six subjects -- Korean, English, mathematics, sociology, science and music.

The digital textbook is operated on digital media such as a personal computer using wired or wireless networks. It goes beyond a conventional textbook by using features such as video, animation, virtual reality and hyperlinks. The digitized book also includes student handbook, workbook, dictionary and reference materials that are updated when needed. Connection is also available to the databases of different organizations, so that students can access and download much more information than just those in textbooks.

Korea since 2002 has been developing digital textbooks. They were tested on 300 students at four elementary schools in 2006, and the government selected the prototype for the books last year.

Before the project’s implementation starts in March, the ministry will focus on developing content, multimedia resources and teaching methods. Selected schools will get electronic blackboards and wireless Internet service as well as training for teachers.

Twenty elementary schools this year will use digitized textbooks, and the number will jump to 100 elementary, middle and high schools nationwide by 2011.

A 2006 ministry report said students with average or poor grades showed great academic improvement after using the digital textbooks. Studies have also found that electronic material is effective in attracting academic interest in students, and that students are more capable of self-learning when using the Internet and multimedia resources for school.

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