The Korea Herald


iPad or Galaxy Tab? 7th graders take their pick for digital classroom

By Park Jun-hee

Published : Sept. 20, 2023 - 15:01

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The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said Wednesday that it has distributed some 70,530 electronic devices for 7th-grade students across middle schools in Seoul to help prepare students for the AI digital textbooks that will go into use starting in 2025.

The devices will also provide diverse learning resources and interactive education content for students.

The Education Office will also install charging stations at each school to keep students’ devices powered up and ready for use, as well as a service center equipped with trained technical support staff that can support the repairs of school laptops and tablets. All middle schools will have charging stations installed in their classrooms by October, according to the Education Office.

In a bid to address concerns about the immediate and long-term effects of exposing students to gadgets, the school-issued devices have a system that shields students from harmful websites, Internet content and gaming applications.

The devices will also have a screen time limit to protect students from being affected by spending too much time looking at screens and to minimize distraction from the learning environment. The gadgets will also be supplied with a lost property report system and a device management system (MDM) -- a function that enables organizations to administer and maintain devices.

In addition, students will be given the option to choose their gadgets from five different models, including a Galaxy Tab from Samsung Electronics, Apple’s 9th-generation iPad model and LG Electronic’s “Whalebook,” a cloud-optimized laptop powered by Naver’s Whale operating system. Students will have to return their electronic gadgets upon graduation.

“For a smooth and stable shift (from paper-based books) to digital textbooks, (the Seoul Education Office) will continue to provide diverse school support by learning what the education field wants,” Cho Hee-yeon, Seoul’s education chief, was quoted as saying via a press release.