Emerging Trends | ICT4SDG | SDG4
December 1, 2017

Education for the 4th Industrial Revolution? Look inside the Republic of Korea’s classrooms of the future.

By Jeong Rang Kim

The 4th Industrial Revolution has begun. The changes are likely to be fast and revolutionary, affecting whole societies as a result of the fusion of intelligent information communication technologies (ICTs) such as Artificial Intelligence, robotics, Internet of Things, 3D printing and quantum computing.

The structure of education is changing quickly. The profession in the Republic of Korea is examining its present capabilities and anticipating the future in terms of disappearing jobs and new jobs that will be created.

As one of these measures, 2017 National School Smart Infrastructure Construction Consultation – developed in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Gwangju National University of Education – aims to prepare students for the 4th Industrial Revolution and provide appropriate education to grow the core competencies needed in the Information Society.

The goal is to strengthen the capacity of learners in the 21st century. Critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, character and communication are the focus.

In order to achieve the above objectives, wireless Internet, electronic blackboards, virtual reality (VR ) devices, notebooks, tablet PCs, digital textbook, etc. are being used by individuals, teams, and classrooms in schools across the country.

The “BYOD” method – “bring your own device” – is being implemented in many schools along with WiFi in classrooms.

It is easier to use the Internet in the classroom rather than in a dedicated computer room. We can connect specialists from outside the classroom, students can experience augmented reality (AR), and actively communicate in class through instant messaging such as Simple Notification Service (SNS).

Classrooms of the future

To facilitate 21st century learning, we have introduced a variety of applications for iOS and Android-based smart devices and applications.

For critical thinking and problem-solving, we use musical instrument applications like ‘GarageBand’ to make small bands and use imaginary realities such as ‘Quiver’ or ‘Augment’ to inspire their imagination.

Applications such as ‘Noise meter’, ‘Heart rate meter’ and ‘Sun altitude meter’ are also used as teaching tools.

These lessons provide students with memorable learning experiences in which life becomes study and study becomes life.

To foster collaboration, we provide the experience of collecting materials or creating presentations using Google’s documentation tools to empower people to solve problems. In addition to this, we use a strategy such as creating mind maps jointly or involving students teams in the production of videos.

We use class SNS for communication and to share materials in real time. We also use the ‘SendAnywhere’ app to easily exchange data, and use translation applications such as ‘Google Translate’ to remove language barriers.

Students also use ‘Socrative’ applications to get involved and solve problems in real time. We use programs such as Code.org, Entry, Scratch, and Lightbot to improve computing thinking.

Overcoming challenges in education

Firstly, it is a matter of building the right technical environment. Wireless Internet is not yet in every school, and many students do not have smart devices.

Secondly, students, parents, teachers, and the Education Services Offices need to prepare for the future. Changing the classroom and environment are one thing, but there are still parents who do not consider ICT classes important and think that students are playing when they are sitting at the computer at home.

Third, it is a problem of teacher training. Lessons are carried out by teachers who must be knowledgeable and interested in using technology in the classroom. The less ICT competency teachers have, the less willingness they have to use ICT tools.

If we can overcome these challenges, the benefits to students and education systems will be great.

By using various voice-camera chat programs such as Facetime and Hangout, students can bring their own learning to life by bringing guest speakers into the class. These lessons provide students with memorable learning experiences in which life becomes study and study becomes life.

Applications such as Woodencube and Battlemath help students learn by interacting with learners and content without feedback from the teacher, allowing students to learn on their own, leading to more self-directed learning.

These ICT tools help teachers prepare for class, during and after classes. In the class preparation stage, students can use the class SNS to easily guide their learning materials to the image. This guidance also allows better communication with parents. During the class, Smart devices encourage all students to participate in the class. And real-time interactive applications, such as “Socrative,” can also be used to directly view student engagement. After class, the technologies help to easily share class materials and feedback with students and parents.

Jeong Rang Kim Professor, Deptartment of Computer Education, Gwangju National University of Education, Rep. of Korea. She is also the Director of Library and Computing Center, Director of Multimedia Research center of Gwangju National University of Education.
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Education for the 4th Industrial Revolution? Look inside the Republic of Korea's classrooms of the future.

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