This week, we share an article by Nadine Freischlad that appeared in techinasia.com. As the article explains, there are a number of startups in Southeast Asia that provide online education services. These small companies tend to have little funding and as a result they tend to remain frugal and focus on local issues. Freischlad argues that an influx of venture capital will shake up the current landscape, pushing founders to think about scaling up and profitability.
The edtech startups that have captured attention range from Indonesia’s Bulletinboard, a mobile app and online tool for teachers to post homework assignments and reports to the entire community, to Malaysia’s Classruum, an online learning environment that helps school kids learn at home and in study groups.
To learn more about the 29 most interesting edtech startups in Southeast Asia, read the complete article here.
Distributing Tablets in All Schools in Osaka
(1 June 2012)
The Osaka City School Board announced a plan to buy tablets for all elementary and middle schools in the city by 2015. The plan also involves connecting individual tablets with an interactive whiteboard in classrooms. It will cost more than $10 million to invest in the tablets and to develop the interactive classroom system.
To see an example of how one Japanese classroom utilized iPads during a lesson, see the following video:
Digital wave reaching classrooms
Woo-Young, L. The Korea Herald
(10 April 2012)
The Ministry of Education, as a part of its “smart education” drive, has pushed for all Korean schools to use digital textbooks by 2015. “Teachers expect digital education tools to enable self-directed learning, an ideal but elusive goal in the current education environment. Self-directed learners will not simply follow what teachers tell them to do, but search for information and knowledge about what interests them.” Digital textbooks might be a way to accomplish these goals, according to education experts, allowing for the Korean school system to remove away from the model of teachers focusing exclusively on teaching students for examinations. “It all starts with digital textbooks. They’re not restricted to content only, but will upgrade the whole school system and education to a new level,” believes an elementary school headmaster, Jo Yong-deuk. Others question the educational gains first or second grade students may receive from using digital textbooks.
Additionally, the Pearson Foundation has produced this video about Korea’s move toward digitized textbooks.
Teaching technology: we need a digital revolution in the classroom
(31 March 2012)
Recently, the government has “thrown out the old syllabus” to institute a new system of education in England. This editorial challenges the government to change the ways that computer technology is taught in schools, ensuring that students know more than typing in a word processor and downloading an app for the iPhone. The editors want students to understand that computers are tools that can be programmed and critiqued. They also want students to learn programming skills in schools. But, the editors remind governmental leaders that effective change is more than rhetoric: “Ultimately, as anyone who has worked in education knows, fine intentions count for little without the human resources to back them. In this sense, bringing technological innovation and best practice to the classroom is much like the art of building a successful syllabus: the result should set good teachers free to teach, and enable the best possible use to be made of their time and attention.” Furthermore, the editors remind readers that digital technology has been important for economic growth and political movements (e.g., the Arab Spring), thus providing compelling reasons to continue to teach about computer technology in schools.
Singapore – Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education
OECD (10 February 2012)
This official video from the OECD’s Directorate for Education provides an overview of Singapore’s educational system, highlighting some of the reasons why Singapore consistently scores well on PISA. If you don’t know much about education in Singapore, this provides an excellent introduction.