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Thailand develops e-content to align pedagogy with ICT

Curriculums not keeping up with modern technology have been worrying educators. To make Thai education as captivating as the Internet, the Ministry of Education has put 300 million Baht (US$9 million) this financial year into developing e-content that will replace textbooks for secondary and primary education.

“We have to change (the curriculum) because everything exists on the Internet. Students must be taught to learn by themselves, said Keartisak Sensai, Senior Advisor (ICT for Education), Ministry of Education (MOE). “With this money, we can develop about 1700 new lessons this year.”

And to combat the digital divide, these e-content are created such that they can be distributed on thumbdrives with each one holding on to a half-year’s curriculum.

Sensai told the magazine FutureGov Asia Pacific: “After development, the content will be distributed to educators via thumbdrives or hosted on a server for those with Internet access to download. These thumbdrive textbooks can then be shared amongst both students and fellow educators.

“Schools with faster Internet connection speeds can of course access these content directly from the Internet.”

Right now, the ministry already has 500 lessons in three subjects converted from textbooks into digital bytes. By May this year, the first semester of 2011, the e-curriculum will have been implemented.

“It is expensive to transform textbooks into e-content. It took two years and 70 million Baht [US$2.27 million] to develop the content that we have now. We need to look at lesson plans, Powerpoint slides, and form storyboards than can be placed on a multimedia platform,” said Sensai.

“Most of the content is currently in development. Hopefully by the next two years, every single course can be kept in a thumbdrive.”

But students are not the only targets of the new curriculum. Sensai said that Thailand has a shortage of teachers, especially during this “period of transformation from old to new” with older teachers who cannot adapt to the IT age moving out of the workforce.

“With a shortage of teachers, some of them might have to take on subjects they are not familiar with. So the e-content is a good guide for the teachers who have insufficient knowledge of their subjects,” said Sensai.

March to April 2011, teachers tasked with subjects out of their field of expertise will be trained with the thumbdrive e-content.

“Technology can help explain everything easily,” quipped Sensai.

Author: Xinghui Guo, FutureGov
Redistributed with the permission of FutureGov Asia Pacific