Let’s learn from the top education system in the world.

According to a study by Pearson, Finland and South Korea top the list of 40 developed countries with the best education systems. Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore follow.

Korean government supports and spends on education (in proportion to the size of the economy) more than other countries. In 2008, it invested 7.6% of its gross domestic product in education.

In the 1990s, Korean authorities recognized the importance of using ICT in education, it launched a master program and develop ICT in education with connecting a PC per teacher and have Internet access in all classrooms.It also trained teachers to integrate ICT into classroom teaching.

In 2011, it announced a $2.4 billion strategy to digitize the nation’s entire school curriculum by 2015.

“At the core of this ambitious project, dubbed ‘Smart Education’, is the implementation of ‘digital textbooks’  interactive versions of traditional textbooks that can be constantly updated in real time. Digital textbooks contain a combination of textbooks, reference books, workbooks, dictionaries and multimedia content such as video clips, animations, and virtual-reality programmes that can be tailored to students’ abilities and interests. Students can underline sections, take notes, reorganise pages and create hyperlinks to online material.

The following video is a must watch, featuring government officials, teachers, and students in South Korea.

Korea: Using ICT to make a successful education system even better




Teachers; this is for you.

The role of the teacher was always a center of the attention in classical teaching methods. What is wrong with this? Well, for begging, it is usually not very interactive, students will lose focus, and it will make students dependent on the receiving the information rather than searching for it, which will eventually makes them forget a lot of the information they received.

Technology enables students to be more engaged, more creative, and have more fun! Thus the role of the teacher will soon transfer from being a focus of attention, to more of a guide.

Imagine this, you are a teacher, trying to be more interactive with your students, so you ask questions and wait for someone to raise their hand. Not so hard to imagine since that is what our classical class room experience is like. Now imagine this; each student has a digital device connected to a network (e.g. laptop, tablet, mobile..), you now ask a question, and ask all of them to submit it individually, instantly. After they submit it, as a teacher you will have a live feedback and data of your class progress.  In more simple words, you will know if they are understating what your are saying or not, and you will also know who is exactly facing an issue, or who is excelling. You might even now ask the students who excelled to help the students who are having a hard time understanding the subject, and therefore you will also increase the level of teamwork in your class. In summary; with technology, the curriculum interaction will be much higher!

One of the attributes of humans is we forget. A lot.
Forgetting is not always a curse, some times it’s a blessing, but I am not getting into this philosophical question now. What I am focusing on is how can we use technology to makes us remember our educational knowledge.

As a graduate student, I have the blessing of having my internet connected laptop open before me in class. What this means is, when a professor explains a subject that needs sufficient prior knowledge that I took a while ago, I simply search online, find the information I needed, and continue with the professor’s explanations. Also, as an international student, having a dictionary opened on the side of my page is extremely helpful when I encounter a new word that has been mentioned in class.

The problem is, most basic school education don’t allow using computers in class. I realize that there is a need of censorship especially for teenagers, but this can be solved by having a closed Intranet connection for in school use.

Now to the fun part of learning through technology. Want to learn Mandarine in 3 weeks? Play a virtual game!
A Michigan State University professor created a virtual game where a player (student) will find her/his self in a city in China, and have to feed yourself, find a place to live, and interact with people as you play. What professor Zhao found is that college students are learning Chinese language and learning about the culture in 3 weeks instead of the average 2 semesters.

The bottom line is: when we have an interactive, adaptable, and fun way of learning; students, teachers, and societies will all prosper.