July 19, 2011

Education in Cloud

 

South Korea, the home of leading tech companies such as Samsung and LG, announced a plan for its schools to go paperless by 2015. The government plans on spending $2 billion to develop digital text books, which would be available on a student's school-supplied tablet - most likely a Galaxy or Optimus. Students will also access paperless materials through a cloud–based system. With the cloud in place, sick students, or those who live in mountainous areas , will be able to access materials from home. 

In the U.S. as well,  the path to digitalization of learning materials is moving forward. The American Library Association (ALA) released its 2011 Public Library Funding and Technology Access Survey, which showed that 67% of public libraries in the U.S. now offer free e-book access for patrons. In addition, MIT offers free online courses under the MIT OpenCourseWare program, and Kno, one of the coolest education startups, is trying to build an eTextBook ecosystem for college education. 

With the help of APIs, schools will be able to open their learning materials in a secure way, with mobile and tablet applications for students and teachers. There are still lots of issues to be resolved. However, it's only a matter of time before all students will read, write and study through mobile gadgets, accessing their books and class notes via their schools' cloud systems. This will not only be more efficient (teachers no longer have to spend 3 hours a day grading students), but also environmentally friendly.