SEOUL, KOREA – Yu-jin, a fifth grade elementary student never forgets to bring her tablet PC in her school bag; it is the most indispensable device she needs for school. The tablet PC serves as her textbook, notebook and organizer. Before the term begins, she downloads all necessary lessons for her classes from the internet, while her mother helps her download additional texts and videos daily from her school teachers’ websites, so no additional textbook or writing material is necessary. Today, at school, she takes out her tablet PC to view digital textbooks as the teacher presents the lesson about dinosaurs and volcanoes on the monitor installed in the classroom. After school, while Yu-jin enjoys her snacks, her mother helps her check the schedule, homework, and preview of the lecture on the tablet PC. What’s more, she can watch TV for homeschooling instead of attending private teaching institutions for supplementary learning. Yu-jin’s parents also take advantage of this technology to practice foreign languages by studying online materials for thirty minutes and talking to native speakers via the internet video system for an extra thirty minutes. As for Yujin’s grandparents, they watch a TV documentary about Antonio Gaudi and his lifelong achievements in constructing edifices and buildings as they prepare to travel to Spain.
Smart learning has become even more widespread as the number of smart phone subscribers has reached 20 million in October, 2011. This increase gives us a glimpse into what the future holds for this amazing technology. In our aging society, life expectancy can reach as old as 100 years and the demand for education is changing constantly according to age. Education becomes digitalized as information and communication technology evolves requiring further enhancement of the education system based on the demands of consumers from children to adults who want to receive lifelong education.
The combination of education and cloud computing has created the wind of change to the education system. Today, we live in a world of digital information, which makes us enjoy smart education unhindered by spatial or time restrictions. Smart education or smart learning is construed as the new education system emerging from the development of information and technology. We have come to the age of smart Learning after e-Learning (electronic Learning), m-Learning (mobile Learning), and u-Learning (ubiquitous Learning) developed in the onset of the21st century.
Dr. Kwak Duk-hoon, CEO of Educational Broadcasting System (EBS) in Korea and Chairman of Korean Smart Learning Forum, is the pioneer of smart learning and lifelong education. He is the fearless leader who led EBS to become the world’s best education media group and helped the country to learn more about the significance and vision of smart learning.
“Smart Learning is Emotion Networking”
“Emotion Networking” and “Human Networking” are international smart learning terms emphasized from the beginning by Dr. Kwak envisioning “Emotional Technology” as its core. Emotional education focuses on the qualitative and quantitative effects of learning stirring the learners’ curiosity. Hence, smart learning also refers to “Human-centered Education” prioritizing consumers’ convenience so that they can learn without constraints.
Smart learning is cloud computing-based and device-free, enabling consumers to use it more conveniently while e-learning provides web-based PC client services. Hybrid thinking aims to identify and realize consumers’ needs and plays a significant role in empowering smart learning that covers learning through communication with colleagues, providing intelligent and tailored methods according to a learner’s intelligence and level of comprehension.
“Korea Ranks First in Smart Learning”
Dr. Kwak emphasized, “Korea ranks first in the web-based smart learning environment from the perspective of services that consumers receive.” This means that Korea has the world class IT infrastructure and generic technology which contributes greatly to the country’s leadership in smart learning making education digital and smart. The term, e-learning was first introduced in the early 2000’s when the development and distribution of information and communication networks started to play a key role in this innovation.
EBS’s market leadership lies in the fact that Korea’s smart learning was developed based on the College Scholarship Ability Test (CSAT). EBS is an educational broadcasting system providing not only public education including CSAT programs, but also the outstanding lifelong educational contents.
Twenty-one affiliated Korean universities, the highest in the world, provide cyber lectures in their own local areas. The Korean Education & Research Information Service (KERIS) operates ten units of Korean Open Course Ware (KOCW) across the country to support them. In addition, KOCW manages a free website (www.kocw.net) where you can benefit from online lectures of Korean and overseas scholars.
It was designed for users to download the Korean contents via mobile applications suited for all smart phone devices in the country or to use the materials at home via the internet. A systemically configured structure has been arranged to benefit from the terrestrial broadcasting services without watching the actual and real-time broadcasting. Korea has secured about twenty million smart phone subscribers and manufactures contents that fully reflect consumers’ need for information and convenience. Smart learning in Korea is expected to grow even faster this year due to the nationwide launch of LTE (Long Term Evolution) and cloud computing.
“Substance as Core”
Along with the facilitation of smart learning, the importance of information digitalization and service advancement is highlighted more. Smart learning, an educational method using various contents and database security, has become a crucial issue. Dr. Kwak pointed out that, currently, there is an overall shortage of materials being used by teachers at schools which leaves the teachers with no other option but to rely on the internet for their class materials.
EBS has set and vigorously promoted a goal to produce various educational and cultural contents to enhance the educational quality of human development and lead the country to a further progress. The aim is to produce contents of high quality and accessibility for immediate and lifelong education as well. Their intellectual properties cover children’s programs such as ‘Pororo’, secondary education programs to supplement public education and cultural programs such as documentaries. It also plans to secure about 40,000 additional clips this year as they assist the curricula with five-minute clips to be incorporated into the Educational Digital Resource Bank (EDRB).
Dr. Kwak said, “Compared to BBC of UK and PBS of USA, our databases are completely insufficient. We need to expedite the development of the Korea Digital Resource Bank (KDRB), an open national knowledge platform.” This means that the knowledge and information system, integrating and managing Korea’s multimedia materials is necessary. According to Dr. Kwak, KDRB largely consists of the Educational Digital Resource Bank (EDRB) and Cultural Digital Resource Bank (CDRB).
In addition to independent contents production, databases can be qualitatively and quantitatively expanded in association with related overseas institutions. There is also a way of constructing and using a common database by sharing contents from other countries that are different from ours. During the general assembly of the 24th International Council for Distance Education (ICDE) in Bali, Indonesia in October 2011, Dr. Kwak suggested a project named “The Asian Educational Digital Resource Bank (ADRB)” to resolve the world’s education gap.
The ADRB’s objective is to open EDRB services, launched by EBS on 12th of May in 2011, overseas through multi-language services starting the latter half of 2013. The EDRB’s independent website will edit and provide EBS programs such as five-minute clips, various keywords and additional educational materials necessary for research. The ADRB will be managed as an open platform where cultural video contents from various countries can be shared. Provided in English, there will be functions to add captions and subtitles in different languages. Furthermore, video materials of a wide range of pixel quality will be provided in consideration of the status of communication in each country, creating an environment for users from various countries to communicate with each other.
"The ICDE, China’s Tianjin Open University, Malaysia’s Wawasan Open University, and Indonesia’s University as Terbuka responded positively to cooperate. We will also establish “The Committee of Experts for the ADRB Promotion”, which will consist of experts from all around the world," said Dr. Kwak. Once the ADRB becomes available, database vulnerability suffered by Asian countries is likely to be resolved.
“The World Aspires to Adapt Korean Educational Scheme”
On the other hand, a growing number of developing countries are benchmarking Korea’s smart learning based on their realization of the importance of education as a key to Korea’s economic development. The know-how of EBS has gained admiration in Central and South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa making it more sought-after and paving the way for ‘Smart Learning Export” putting “Korean Wave in Education” on a global stance.
The Korean government plans to help developing and underdeveloped countries with their establishment of educational broadcasting stations and there EBS stands as a part of the ‘Knowledge Sharing Program (KSP)’. “Smart learning combines our education broadcasting services and IT is an economic development model aspired by African countries,” explained Dr. Kwak.
Their interest has increased based on the fact that despite Korea’s geographical limit and scarce natural resources, has cultivated global companies such as Samsung, LG, and Hyundai, and launched the high quality products, such as mobile phones through its empowerment of human resources.
Dr. Kwak mentions, “EBS’s contribution will be great in terms of reducing illiteracy in Africa and providing neglected and excluded classes, including women, opportunities to learn to by sharing and supporting excellent educational data.” EBS plans to extend further contributions to improving the learning environment by providing educational facilities and supplementary items aside from the know-how transfer.
“MKE and the MEST to Jointly Facilitate Smart Learning”
As the co-editor of ICT based learning terminologies (ISO/IEC JTC1 SC36 WG1), Dr. Kwak articulates, “Korea needs more than anything else to arrange and establish the terminology system for smart learning and databases simultaneously to lead smart learning,” and forecasts, “Countries completing smart learning terminologies which is the most critical stage to set international standards, will lead the smart learning market. If Korea preoccupies the market, export combining IT and education will become more active.”
EBS earned one million dollars by exporting its documentary programs especially ‘The Land of Gods, Angkor’, a single documentary program sold at the highest price ever by a Korean broadcasting company, making EBS more optimistic in pursuing this year’s goal of further exporting smart learning based on one of their core values “Global EBS”.
As the revised e-learning Industry Development Act has taken effect on 26th of January, 2012, the government specifically MKE (the Ministry of Knowledge and Economy) and MEST (the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology) announced to join forces and work closely to promote the export of smart learning.
The ministries will implement the business reporting system, where the development of e-learning contents and R&D projects designated by the MKE will be limited to subjects excluding large conglomerates. Additionally, to cope with the fast-changing industrial environment, the cycle to establish ‘the basic plan to promote e-learning’ will be reduced from five to three years.
In order to promote the industrial application, KERIS will join the National IT Industry Promotion Agency, the agency responsible for e-learning standardization and quality certification. MEST will provide e-learning contents and systems to educational institutions while extending services to socially vulnerable classes overseas. MKE will provide e-learning education and training to the industry’s human resources to enhance productivity and capacity of the SME (Small and medium sized enterprises) workforce.
The Articles about Smart Learning will be continued with following issues.
Smart Learning plans six-part series
1. What is Smart Learning
- Along with e-Learning and Cloud Computing, Comes the Advancement of Smart Learning
2. Smart Education Scheme and the Model; Charmsaem Elementary School
3. Smart Learning models and Education Polices (MEST) and industry-specific Smart Learning Approaches
4. Build a cloud-computing environment
5. The future of smart learning depends on contents
6. Smart Learning business model and export strategy