Video games. Computers. TV. Children today spend so much time indoors using electronic media that they lack the physical fitness, concentration and social skills of previous generations. Some findings conclude that too much time indoors is directly correlated with decreased academic performance.
I love that children embrace digital tools, but I also want all of them to achieve their full potential. This is why I’m excited about the “CloudPlay for Education” (CloudPlay) mobile learning (mLearning) program in Tainan, Taiwan.
For the CloudPlay program, the first Qualcomm Wireless Reach program in Taiwan, we teamed up with the Tainan City Government, FarEasTone Telecommunications Co. (FET), ASUS Technology Inc. (ASUS) and the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) to deploy a 4G mLearning platform for outdoor education to elementary and middle school students and teachers across the city. The overall goal is to help Tainan achieve its smart city and education policy objectives, as Tainan is taking part in the national government’s 4G Smart Cities Initiative, in which enhanced teaching and learning experiences through 4G connectivity are a key part
The innovative, cloud-based mobile application integrates outdoor education course content and field trip curricula with multimedia, social messaging and real-time positioning to engage students and promote creative thinking and problem solving. CloudPlay can be used to make, share, “like” and discuss videos and photos created during outdoor classes or field trips such as mountain climbing and visiting local cultural sites.
Teachers use CloudPlay for everything from creating coursework and planning field trips, to forming social messaging groups and managing videos. They also webcast select student activities in real time for parents to enjoy, and enable GPS monitoring to ensure student safety while outside.
With support from Wireless Reach, the program will expand in the 2016-2017 school year, providing 650 4G-enabled ASUS tablets pre-loaded with the CloudPlay mobile app at 11 schools with the aim of improving the educational experiences of 2,000 students and providing teacher training to 100 teachers.
Recently, we had an event in Tainan to mark the program’s expansion and bring together numerous stakeholders, who care deeply about smart cities and education, and are committed to making Tainan and Taiwan global leaders in technology innovation. Approximately 150 leaders from the tech, government and education sectors, including the Ministry of Economic Affairs and National Tsing Hua University attended, all of whom recognize that investing in children’s education and state-of-the-art educational tools are best practices for keeping Taiwan at the forefront of technological progress.
Taiwan’s overall investment in smart cities will likely pay off in the future as the country evolves into “Asia’s Silicon Valley.” School principals and teachers are grateful for this opportunity and enthusiastic about using the tablets with their new mobile-centric curricula and teaching methods. Various local government bodies have contributed a great deal, such as advising on school selection, liaising with schools and supporting program staff throughout implementation and teacher training.
I look forward to seeing how the digital education training and tools provided through this program will help prepare Tainan’s students with 21st century skills and experiences, as well as build the capacity of educators and enhance their teaching abilities. I’m especially excited to see Tainan become a model for other places interested in deploying 4G smart cities initiatives and mobile education programs and I am thrilled to have a role in this transformation.