The Korean Experience (part II)

I was in Busan and Seoul to attend the 29th APEC e-learning training under the auspicious umbrella of APEC. Malaysia was given the privilege of sending three delegates whereas Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Russia, had two and Mexico, Indonesia and Peru had one. The course mainly focussed on developing attendess ability to forge collaboration and nurture collective intelligence. As the normal case for courses like this, there were a few site visits to break the monotony and to enable trainees to savour the Korean success stories. Two of those places are i-real Park in Busan and Digital Pavilion in Seoul. i-real Park is a private entity is basically an edutainment theme park. The place showcased Korean expertise in augmenting its electronic wizardries. Likewise the Digital Pavilion in Seoul but the focus is more on the use of electronics for improvement of quality of life. You got the chance to see robots dancing to the tune of Gangnam Style and Gentlemen. Interesting to see that all the programming and setting up were done by Koreans. We were also taken to a school where nine of the classrooms were equipped with various IT equipment such as netbooks, CCTV, smart TV, 200Mbps internet connectivity (yes 200 is the average, it could go up to 300!). The teaching and learning part was not so inspiring or innovative despite all the gadgeteries. However I noted that the ICT teacher had no assistant and he had to attend all ICT issues in the school including training the teachers. He looked so harrased when I asked him a few questions about his role in the school. Somehow it sound so familiar to our counterpart in Malaysia. It is interesting to note that he had undergone 200 hours of training beforehand. The school is using digital textbook on trial basis. Mind you Korea has been experimenting with digital text book concept for almost 15 years and still thay have not decided on the actual concept and design. According to the MoE official, they will decide in one to two years time.
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