Saturday, December 19, 2009

Strength in Software/Content Versus hardware: The E-Learning Initiative

The Korea Times yesterday carried an article on the government's new e-learning initiative that sheds some light on the importance of content and software in driving the use of digital devices.  Reportedly, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has spent about $255 million to install electronic blackboards or interactive monitors for showing electronic content in 256 middle and high schools across the country.   The article notes that, according to critics, these screens are not seeing much use yet, because of the absence of appropriate electronic content.
Converting whole textbooks into digital content and using it in classrooms would be considered illegal under current rules, so teachers are limited to using excerpts from the texts.
The overall project also calls for the provision of e-book readers to a 110 schools in rural areas of Korea, but the government says it will not spend more than 1.1 million won for each device, while the companies involved in the project say they cost more.
There is always a balance to be struck between the provision of digital networks and equipment to be attached to the networks, on the one hand, and content or applications, on the other.  Although there is currently controversy over the e-learning initiative, the story is far from over.  

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