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Friday, 11 November 2011 | 0 pony
Educators from Malaysia, Australia and India foresee a future in which digital books, hybrid mobile computers and touch-screen writing tablets will replace the text book, chalk and blackboard, according to a series of FutureGov interviews on how technology will change the future of education.
Many libraries in Asia Pacific are aggressively digitising content. The National Library in Kolkata – the largest library in India – is going through a massive digitisation effort. “We have digitised 9140 books and converted close to 180,000 records into machine-readable formats last year,” said Asesh Ghatak, Library and Information Officer, National Library, Belvedere, Kolkata in India.Emeritus Professor Jonathan Anderson, Flinders University of South Australia, predicts that knowledge in the form of books and printed matter will rapidly become digitised. Today, full text of over seven million books can be accessed through Google Books. This number is growing quickly as Google expands its digitisation effort with international associations, publishers and authors. Companies such as and Sony are also contributing to this development.
New mobile devices will emerge and take on a great role in the way students learn. “We are likely to see a convergence of mobile and PC technologies as rival chip manufacturers enter each other’s territory,” explained Anderson. He predicted that smart phones will become more like computers and vice versa.
Dr Norrizan Razali, Senior Manager, Smart School Department, Multimedia Development Corporation in Malaysia agreed. “One of the key emerging technologies that will transform schools is mobile devices. Hybrid devices which are a mix of mobile phones and personal notebooks,” she added. Razali believed that such a mobile device will make a great impact to students, especially in rural Malaysia. However, it must first be durable and affordable – below RM 1000 (US$292) each.
The increasing pervasiveness of cloud computing will support such a device. Cloud enables operating systems to be trimmed down and applications to rely less on end-clients for processing power and memory space. Also, touch-screen technology will become the key method students interact with ICT devices.
“Such a device will be held in the hand like a mobile phone but it will have a larger surface, something like a writing tablet. It will be used for all kinds of communicating – browsing the internet, emailing, reading books and other materials online, phoning and texting, and social networking with friends and colleagues,” Anderson elaborated.
Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter will continue to rule students’ time. According to a recent Australian study, Facebook was the fourth most visited site. On average, users spend an average of 26.5 hours each week online, and a quarter of that time – 6.5 hours – is dedicated to Facebook. Visits to Twitter increased 1000 per cent compared to the year before.
While it is not easy to spell out the implications for education, Anderson advised that educators need to keep abreast of the latest ICT developments and echoed the need for teachers to be brought up to speed on new technology.


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