South Korea is taking a $2 billion gamble that its students are ready to ditch paper textbooks in favor of tablet PCs as part of a vast digital scholastic network.
France, Singapore, Japan, and other countries are racing to create classrooms where touch-screens provide instant access to millions of pieces of information. But South Korea—Asia’s fourth-largest economy—believes it enjoys an advantage over those countries, with students who are considered the world’s savviest navigators of the digital universe. A 2009 study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a Paris-based group of wealthy nations, found 15-year-olds in South Korea scored highest in their ability to absorb information from digital devices, beating runners-up New Zealand and Australia by a large margin.
More than 60 primary, middle, and high schools in South Korea are now using digital textbooks, and education officials in the country believe the $2.1 billion program can be completed by 2015.
A version of this article appeared in the October 19, 2011 edition of Digital Directions as S. Korea Outlines Ambitious Plans for All-Digital Scholastic Network