Park life

The afternoon plenary session is in full swing here at ICL 2008, and Jose Santana (left) from the Dominican Republic is speaking. He has examined the current relationships between education, technology and culture and political issues that impact upon their provision and development. He argued that a dominant political-cultural vision about development has imposed restrictions on education, citizenship and the provision of technology. Wishes to provide new and innovative learning opportunities to the population of his country and around the world. One Laptop Per Child, Hole in the Wall, Wireless Africa and other recent projects have inspired him and have shown that it is possible using innovative approaches to the use of technology, that a transformation of education can be achieved even within restrictive governmental and economic climates.

Earlier, Kun-Woo Park, (Kyung Hee Cyber University, South Korea: pictured left) presented his keynote on e-learning in South Korea. In a slick and impressive delivery, Kun-woo Park conducted us on a journey through the history of e-learning in South Korea which is now one of the world's most wired countries.

The digital culture of SK is epitomised by its reliance on IT infrastructure and trends in digitisation. 79.8 % of households now have broadband access to internet. 76.3 % above age of 6 years are Internet users. Over 45 % aged 12 and above use wireless internet. 92.2% use mobile phones - mainly elderly are non-participants. 25% are DMB television viewers. This is a great platform for the embedding and growth of e-learning. 74.3 % of HE and FE institutions offer e-learning delivered courses (an increase of 45% over the previous year).

Kyung Hee Cyber University is founded totally on online delivery of higher education programmes - which makes it a true virtual university. 17 cyber universities are in existence in SK, to meet the enormous demand for online learning. KHCU delivers 700 programmes to students in 30 countries. The university uses an interactive instructional system, which is a blend of a number of digital learning resources including video, audio podcast and web based learning objects which allows for anytime anyplace learning. SMS and e-mail are used by tutors to communicate with their students and provide announcements and updates. It does seem very much a behaviouristic approach to distance elearning, which involves a great deal of didactic structure, reinforcement and feedback systems. However, collaborative learning is encouraged and there is room for students to select their own pace of study. They use quizzes and other interactive feedback systems for students to self-assess. Learners can self-direct their own learning, selecting pace, space and place.

Use of blogs and other social web tools are encouraged and the online activities are blended face-to-face meetings, classes and project work (somewhat undermining its virtual university tag). There is nothing new here for those steeped in the practice of elearning, but the Cyber University concept shows signs of great promise and provides South Korea with a means that enables it to educate it's large population on a viable economy of scale enabling it to compete with other nations in the world economy. Kun-Woo Park believes that e-learning can improve the quality and availability of higher education, and that it can provide considerable flexibility in how, what and when they can study. They desire and need to particpate in global education. Welcome to the wonderful world of e-learning, South Korea!


Finem said…
I talked with the conference booth of dominikan republic. They have (from the government side) bought a number of laptops but not delivered them to school children yet. They still need to develop educational content for their country. Sounds a bit sad that they can not deliver the laptops yet )-:

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