South Korea to go completely digital for textbooks by 2015

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South Korea's elementary-level educational materials will all be digitized by the year 2014. The entire school curriculum will be delivered on an array of computers, smartphones, and tablets by 2015. The country's Education Ministry even wants to hold nationwide academic tests online according to eSchool News.

The ministry has yet to announce the make or model of the devices it plans to purchase. That being said, it has revealed a budget of $2.4 billion for buying the devices and digitizing material for them.

Some schools are already using textbooks on laptops. As for tablets, the South Korean government has a lot of options to choose from. The frontrunner is likely something from the Galaxy Tab series (either the original 7-inch, or the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 8.9 devices), given that the line is manufactured by the South Korean electronics giant Samsung.

The move will likely reignite the age-old debate about whether or not students learn better when using printed material versus digital screens. Furthermore, there's the issue of whether or not devices smaller form factors are as effective as current textbooks, which tend to have significantly more area on each page. Oh, and there's also the fact the devices can serve as a great distraction from being used as textbooks.

This could be great news for Samsung and its competitors. If the program is a success for South Korea, other countries and their governments will likely follow suit, eventually. The result will be a relatively small, but steady new revenue stream for companies that produce mobile devices with large-enough screens for reading textbooks.

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