A stronger focus is to be put on digital education when the new semester begins in September, the Ministry of Education told Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) in a Cabinet meeting yesterday.
The ministry has set aside NT$20 billion (US$668.3 million) over the next four years to purchase 61,000 tablet computers for elementary and junior-high schools, it said, adding that the plan is part of the Executive Yuan’s digital education initiative.
The plan comes after it allocated NT$1.5 billion from 2017 to 2025 to improve high-speed Internet access at schools and install equipment for smart classrooms, the ministry said.
Photo courtesy of the Minsitry of Education
Supported by the Public Construction Commission, the ministry in March held an open bid, it said, adding that it chose a bidder in April and placed an order in May.
In addition to hardware, such as learning and charging devices, the project also focuses on enriching digital learning materials, it said.
The government has worked with the private sector to develop quality teaching materials and provided subsidies for schools to purchase the materials they needed, the ministry added.
With the help of the Institute for Information Industry, the ministry on June 1 published a list of 762 products from 84 companies for local governments and schools to choose from, it said, adding that it would publish a second list in September.
The ministry said it has held advisory meetings in which experts and academics shared their opinions on setting up a portal for digital learning that would integrate resources suitable for elementary school and junior-high school students from Taiwan and abroad.
Teachers and students can from next month use their education Open IDs to log in and use the resources on 52 free teaching or learning platforms, the ministry said, encouraging them to “like” and share the materials on social media.
The ministry also launched the E-Learning Gateway artificial intelligence learning platform, which uses big data to analyze students’ weaknesses and help them learn more efficiently, it said, adding that it did so in line with global trends in the education sector.
The results of national examinations, including the Project for Implementation of Remedial Instruction Technology-based Testing and local academic competence tests, showed that digital learning can significantly improve learning outcomes, it said.
To alleviate job market shortages, the ministry fully subsidized local governments to set up digital learning offices and provided financial support for schools to hire additional dedicated staff, it said.
The ministry prepared plans for teacher training, in which they would learn about the concepts and methods of using digital tools in the classroom, it said.
The ministry would continue to allocate resources to narrow the urban-rural gap in education and provide “borderless” digital learning classrooms, it said.
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