The ideal type of school maximizes its students’ creativity, and ensures a natural flow of knowledge through networking. In fact, many countries strongly desire to make such a dream a reality.
In Korea, continuous efforts have been made to incorporate information technology into schools. For instance, it has implemented pilot projects aimed at promoting the adoption of digital textbooks since 2008. The focus of the efforts has been the supply of more IT resources to schools. However, what schools badly need is comprehensive approaches to the issue. For instance, they want programs that ensure that IT resources are used in class in the most efficient way possible. LG CNS has carried out extensive research on such approaches, and has been engaged in a variety of relevant projects since 2007.
Changes in the Learning Environment through Digital Textbooks
Smart schools use cutting-edge classrooms guaranteeing the most efficient learning environment. As such, they have to incorporate information technology into schools’ traditional functions including teaching and student assessment. Preparing digital textbooks is the first step towards being a smart school. Digital textbooks do not only replace information on paper textbooks with digital data; they also enable students to search the relevant information on the Internet instantaneously. Digital books are particularly useful when students would like to check updated information on any of a vast number of subjects immediately. Digital books are based on an integrated digital platform that can contain plenty of educational materials.
At LG CNS, the Smart School R&D Team is in charge of developing a Linux-based Digital Textbook Platform. The team has already worked out basic frameworks for the development of national digital textbooks including the contents, platforms and infrastructure.
LG CNS developed U-LearningMate 1.0, an integrated digital textbook platform, under the 2008-2009 Digital Textbook Upgrade and Additional Development Project, which was awarded to the company by the Korean government. LG CNS has obtained GS certification (No. 08-0112) for the platform. U-LearningMate 1.0 has integrated the country’s national digital textbook platforms, which were divided between Windows and Linux, into one, and has markedly improved the usability of the contents of digital textbooks, too. So far, a total of 110 elementary schools in Korea are using the digital services offered by the platform in class.
LG CNS developed the Smart School Platform 2.0 in 2011. It is the country’s first Android-based digital textbook platform. Based on the experience and expertise it accumulated during the development and operation of the previous national digital textbook platform, LG CNS has developed the new platform particularly to accommodate the explosive spread of smart mobile devices. The platform has secured expandability in the smart environment. It has also improved the flexibility of educational contents to match the increasingly smart school environment.
Schools of the Future built in Sejong City
In 2011, the Ministry of Education presented a model for future smart education to be promoted through a national project called “The Sejong City Smart School Project.” Previously, the sophistication of classrooms was concentrated on the upgrading of equipment. Therefore, customization of the educational environment for individual students was simply impossible, so applications developed for private education were borrowed by schools. As the contractor of the project, LG CNS has provided public education solutions to elementary schools designated by the ministry as ‘smart schools’. These solutions could be developed due to the company’s many years of experience and know-how in the area of public education platforms. Furthermore, LG CNS has installed its future-oriented optimized public education platform in these schools, as well as offering them abundant learning contents designed for self-initiated study.
LG CNS has also provided the cloud computing environment so that students can access study materials anywhere, anytime. Students, therefore, can overcome the constraints of time and space in their studies. They can study in far more intriguing ways, too. In addition, the LG CNS smart school system has incorporated a sophisticated security system using RFID and CCTV in an effort to deal more effectively with the increasingly severe crimes being committed in many schools. The system has virtually eliminated any blind spots in schools. Attendance status is relayed to parents as well. The system also alerts the school administration when a student approaches an area designated as dangerous.
At present, six schools in Sejong City are fully equipped with LG CNS smart school systems. The application of the smart school system is not limited to just a few classrooms at school, as was the case with some other projects in the country. Also, the six smart schools range from preschool to elementary schools to middle and high schools. This is the world’s first introduction of a full-fledged smart school system on such a massive scale. It is being touted around the world as an incredible achievement in education.
NEAT is the World’s First Clouding Computing Type IBT
The National English Ability Test (NEAT), developed under the auspices of the Korean Ministry of Education, tests students’ English language proficiency in listening, reading, writing and speaking. It is the world’s first cloud computing type of IBT (Internet-based Test).
The most outstanding characteristic of NEAT is the fact that cloud computing is applied to the entire process including test question writing, administrator training, test room allocation, test administration and test scoring. NEAT is administered in PC rooms at schools across the country. LG CNS has optimized the testing environment by maximizing test-takers’ convenience during the test while minimizing test security risks in order to protect the test’s integrity.
An IBT system has been set up on the basis of a virtual desktop environment that can accommodate up to 15,000 test-takers simultaneously at 1,100 test centers across the country. The virtual desktop environment is created automatically whenever a test taker accesses the system. The headquarters can control all the test centers across the country. The headquarters makes sure that the test progresses smoothly through pre-checking and monitoring of the virtual desktop test environment. LG CNS has not just created the IBT system: it also runs the system and administers the test. It is doing its utmost to help stabilize the new national English test for middle and high school students as early as possible. (LG CNS carries out beta tests for the testing environment at test centers across the country. It is also charged with recruiting and training test administrators. It runs the User Help Desk, too.)
Time to Expand Overseas
The smart school project ensures that institutions carry out their educational duties, including teaching and student appraisal, in smart ways, and that students enjoy learning in far more interesting ways. Countries across the globe expect to improve their educational environment through the adoption of information technology. Some refer to their ideals schools as future schools; others call them e-schools. One thing they have in common is their dream of educating their young people in a much better educational environment. LG CNS has successfully completed the 2008 Saudi Arabia KSU Smart Campus Project. The company is endeavoring to share the assets it has accumulated in the cutting-edge education industry for quite some time with other countries in the global community.
San Sun Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)