In the e-book era, local students will soon be reading digital textbooks: the Shanghai Education Commission has set an ambitious plan to make all primary school grade one pupils use e-textbooks within five years.
The technology will be promoted to higher grades later, Ni Minjing, a Shanghai Education Commission official in charge of elementary education, told Shanghai Daily.
“Singapore and Korea have developed their digital textbooks through five-year plans,” he said. “Shanghai, as a big metropolis in the world, should not lag behind.
Pilot programs of the digital textbooks have been carried out in several local schools, where students used tailor-made laptops to get their lesson, do their homework and take the quiz.
Previous reports estimated that most children carry more than 5 kilograms of textbooks on their way to and from school each day. Some schoolbags even weighed more than 10kg. In comparison, the laptop adopted by the pilot school only weighed about 1.25 kilograms.
“A local student needs to consume 300 traditional textbooks in his 12-year compulsory education, while the digital device only costs about 2,000 yuan (US$290) to 3,000 yuan,” Ni said.
Parents welcomed the device for its light weight and cost cuts, though some worried that it may harm kids’ eyesight or distract them.
In response to parents’ concerns, the commission said that the textbook reader is still being designed to make it more study-oriented and less strain on eyes.