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Tablet Computers To Contain Text Books; Pheu Thai Policy

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EDUCATION

Tablet to contain Text Books

By Chularat Saengpassa

Wannapa Khaopa

Supinda na Mahachai

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The government has now revealed a practical side to the Pheu Thai Party's election policy to hand out free computer tablets to students. Next year, these devices will come equipped with e-textbooks.

Yet, criticism has not died down.

According to Education Minister Woravat Auapinyakul, each tablet will cost no more than Bt3,000 and its use-life should range from three to four years. Presently, the government has already allocated between Bt600 and Bt700 a year for students' free textbooks.

"We may need to spend just a bit more - but this investment is well worth it," he said yesterday.

Woravat pointed out that these tablets could be linked to the Internet and available applications looked set to boost students' potential as well as competitiveness.

The content on the tablets can become very lively with sound, animation, and colourful fonts to engage and interact with students.

Woravat said preparations would start now to make available proper content and curriculum for tablets-based study. As the budget for tablet purchases will come from the 2012 Fiscal Year, the actual procurements will not take place before April or May next year.

"This means we will still have time to prepare things," Woravat said.

He said the tablets would gradually reduce the need for paper textbooks, which were harder to update and to revise.

Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) secretary-general Chinnapat Bhumirat said tablets would be handed out to Pathom-1 students first.

"We are going to prepare e-content for tablets. This part is not related to e-textbooks, though," he said.

Chinnapat said the use of tablets had been tested already among students in Pathom 1 to Pathom 3. "We have found that tablets have many good points. Some software programmes have allowed children to study on their own," he added.

There are now 800,000 Pathom 1 students across the country. If the government is going to provide the tablets to all, it will need a Bt2.4billion budget.

Woravat said tablet models for primary students and secondary students would be different, because they had different needs.

Although the new education minister tried to list down the many benefits of the One Tablet Per Child, Chulalongkorn University lecturer Sompong Jitradab Angsuwathin remained unconvinced.

The prominent educator, who is also a member of an education reform subcommittee, said he was worried using tablets to study all the subjects would ruin children's eyesight.

"It's too much if students have to read every textbook from the tablets," he said.

He reckoned the electronic tools might allow students to seek new knowledge via more interesting formats and use software to practise exercises. Still, he felt Thailand was not ready for the tablet-for-all-student scheme.

"The government should study its impact carefully before full implementation," Sompong said.

He suggested that public hearings be held first to listen to good suggestions from authorities.

"If we plan the right implementations, children will enjoy maximum benefits," he said.

Sompong pointed out that it took countries like South Korea, Japan and Finland between three and five years to prepare the use of tablets for their students.

A 26-year-old secondary school teacher in Sa Kaeo said the One Tablet Per Child policy would reduce students' burden of carrying heavy textbooks to schools.

However, she voiced concern over students' improper use of the tablets.

"How can a teacher make sure that all 50 students open an e-book of the subject they are studying and not other programmes, especially improper ones? Now, it's difficult to monitor when they are using mobile phones in class," she said.

"Many students cannot read and write fluently although they are in secondary level. I'm worried that their writing skills will worsen," the teacher said, adding that the tablets would be useful for students who are self-controlled.

Sompong and the teacher said senior teachers aged 45 and up would have problems using the tablets.

"About 90 per cent of Thai teachers have never used computer tablets," Sompong said, and most of the Sa Kaew teachers were older than 45.

Both urged the government to create measures to prepare teachers and students for effective use of the technological tools first. Without preparation, they were worried the One Tablet Per Child programme would cause more harm than good.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a university lecturer said it was easy to hand out tablets but it would be hard to keep them in good working condition. "Many computers at small schools have been left out of order. No one goes there to fix them," she said, "Has the government thought about this problem?"

After-sale services or maintenance issues, she said, were important.

The lecturer said the government clearly had not yet prepared content for the tablets, nor trained teachers in their use. "If the teachers don't know how to use the devices, it's a waste of money," she said.

The tablets would be useful only if they had proper content and the users knew how to make the utmost use of the devices.

Chinnapat sought to ease such concerns yesterday. He said the Technology for Teaching/Learning Office had been instructed to develop a manual about how to educate teachers on the use of tablets for teaching purposes.

"We will block students' access to inappropriate web sites too," he said.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-12

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It's a political gimmick, but like many things, it could end up being a great idea. I don't that it will, but it could.

It would be a good idea if the MOE took a few schools in each province which are roughly comparable in ranking, socio-economic standing and other factors and did a comprehensive study on the effectiveness of schools using the tablet and those not. They need to study carefully and then implement the program.

It would be nice to see education speeding ahead into something other than the 15th century here.

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Tablet Computers To Contain Text Books; Pheu Thai Policy - and large backhanders for those chosen as suppliers... :ph34r:

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Lets hope those textbooks for teaching English aren't the Thai produced ones containing a plethora of errors. Not knocking Thailand for the sake of it. Simply stating a fact.

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Lets hope those textbooks for teaching English aren't the Thai produced ones containing a plethora of errors. Not knocking Thailand for the sake of it. Simply stating a fact.

Well, as stated in the original article

He said the tablets would gradually reduce the need for paper textbooks, which were harder to update and to revise.

Since changes would be easier to make on the tablet than would be the case on existing distributed paper texts, "sincerely" concerned persons like you could jump in to make a plethora of corrections.

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Before they even think about computers they should be looking at a complete revamp of the education system.<br><br>At present it is utter crap.<br><br>"a seven yo having to attend 'special' learning (because they are not being taught &lt;deleted&gt; in regular classes)<br><br>It's all about money, teach the kids SFA during the regular day and then charge them for extra tuition after school.<br><br>But it's "TIT" isn't<br><br><br><br>

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He said the tablets would gradually reduce the need for paper textbooks, which were harder to update and to revise.

Since changes would be easier to make on the tablet than would be the case on existing distributed paper texts, "sincerely" concerned persons like you could jump in to make a plethora of corrections.

lol...

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3000 baht for a tablet PC?

So its basically just going to be a cheap ebook reader then?

For 3000 baht per student you could get them a PC. Second hand, possibly donated by companies etc.. with a CRT monitor. Quite useable computer, no good for games but certainly a useful learning tool.

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Lets hope those textbooks for teaching English aren't the Thai produced ones containing a plethora of errors. Not knocking Thailand for the sake of it. Simply stating a fact.

And therein lies the advantage. It is much easier to provide a software fix, then it is to reprint books.

School districts pay a small fortune for textbooks, One of the reasons out of date texts are still used by many districts all over the world is that the districts cannot afford to change the texts every two or so years. This is particulalry acute in the sciences. I would have been delighted to have had a tablet as a kid, instead of being obliged to lug around 10-20kgs of books. Have a look at school kids today, some of them can barely carry their backpacks.

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3000 baht for a tablet PC?

So its basically just going to be a cheap ebook reader then?

For 3000 baht per student you could get them a PC. Second hand, possibly donated by companies etc.. with a CRT monitor. Quite useable computer, no good for games but certainly a useful learning tool.

No. The equipment you want to recycle would not have a common format and the cost of wiping the hard drives clean. upgrading and uploading the new data would far exceed the cost of a tablet. There is a reason why companies scrap their PCs every few years: The machines wear out, and the equipment becomes obsolete. PCs have all sorts of parts that break after a few years. It would cost more to maintain an inventory of old equipment than it would to buy new tablets.

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I wonder if the government has a plan for when these computers get viruses, which they most certainly will if free internet is also still part of the package.

Do they also have a maintenance plan for when the computers break down from whatever causes?

In other words, does the plan cover the other aspects of computer ownership?

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3000 baht for a tablet PC?

So its basically just going to be a cheap ebook reader then?

For 3000 baht per student you could get them a PC. Second hand, possibly donated by companies etc.. with a CRT monitor. Quite useable computer, no good for games but certainly a useful learning tool.

probably a shincorp side line,watch this space.

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Knock off tablet computers are a dime a dozen on Ebay, and many of them cost far less than 3000b.

The problem is always going to be the content that these computers use. The operating system of the computers will likely be the android system, which is free ware, and it has access to hundreds of computer games, not to mention porn.

The computers are a great idea, however as I have seen most people here use their 15,000-20-000b apple products as the most expensive computer games money can buy.

Asking all of my students if they have anything educational on their ipads pods phones,, they always say no, just games. This is sure to up the students competitiveness, for sure,,, especially as they will be able to log on to facebook in class and compare their scores.

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Scott has some good points! It is indeed another very shrewd politics gimmick from Mr T. (imagine the delight on the faces of all those immature mums and dads seeing their little ones playing games on these, guess whom they will definitely vote for next time), but it is forward thinking, in a world that is racing into the digital age. By the time thes P1 students are young adults the majority of info gleaning will be virtual.

All the same, will this help improve Thailand's 'average of 5 books read per year'. Could the 4 billion be better spent elsewhere, will these be genuinely used for learning rather than gaming (so easy to hack and unlock) and how transparent will the procurement be?

I'd much rather see a pilot program where a few thousands are distributed in areas of different income levels, and then measure the effectiveness of the program, without that - it's doomed to be another potential waste of my tax money for the sake of buying votes.

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