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  • 2.1 Educational Technology in China
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2.1.1 Introduction

Educational technology is an important indicator for the modernization of Chinese education. The leaders of the Chinese government have paid much attention to educational technology in the past 20 years. The Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the State Council emphasized at the third national meeting on education that more importance should be attached to modern educational technology and it should be greatly modernized, and educational information system should also be greatly promoted. The development of educational technology, as an important task in the modernization of Chinese education, is under way under the direct leadership of the ministers of education.

Chinese educational technology first started with college audio-visual programs in l920's in the School of Agriculture of Jinling University. In l 922, they used slides and films with oral explanations recorded on phonograph to publicize the scientific methods for cotton-planting. Audio-visual education was developed in various schools at all levels after l 949. Radio and television universities were successively established in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenyang in l 960.  Educational technology was greatly developed after the implementation of reform and open to the outside world policies.

2.1.2 Educational Technology on Campus

The educational technology on campus has been greatly developed since 1978. The regular higher education institutions have set up special organizations, centers, departments and offices £© and the education technology is widely spread£® 95£¥ of the regular senior secondary schools and secondary colleges set up the organizations as well£® Quite a few secondary and primary schools have been equipped with special offices and personnel and the number of people engaged in this field amounted to over 200,000£®Most universities and colleges, and middle schools in cities have installed close circuit system. Computer as supplementary teaching equipment is gradually used in schools. In recent years, multi-media computers and regional net on campus are continuously established and widely used in some schools in the developed cities. Teaching slides, projective films, recorder and videos for all disciplines have formed a complete series in secondary and primary schools. The complementary television textbooks and multimedia software co-edited by higher education institutions are widely used in teaching. The Decision on Strengthening Educational Reform and Boosting Education of Overall Qualification emphasized that "Computer and information technology education should be spread in senior secondary schools and some qualified junior secondary and primary schools. All the higher education institutions and key secondary vocational schools should establish the educational science and research net, and secondary and primary schools will establish it step by step."

The Ministry of Education decided in 1997 to set up 1000 experimental schools for modern educational technology£® All of them should make full use of modern educational technology, to promote the development and reform of basic education. The overall education of qualities in secondary and primary schools is strengthened as well. It also affects the searching for more effective teaching patterns. 433 secondary and primary schools are confirmed to be the first group of experimental schools in January, 1998. They have yielded fruitful results at stage in the experimental work of research in disciplines, knowledge acquisition, and skill-training.

The educational technology is developed as well in vocational schools and adult-education schools. The use of educational technology in vocational schools in rural areas has made up for the shortage of teachers and textbooks. Great achievements have been made through the spreading of practical skills by video in many county based vocational schools. The technique levels and awareness of science and literacy rate of the peasants are greatly improved through watching video programs.

Quite a few schools in minority regions have adopted the supplemental methods, such as projective films, slides, movies, recorders, videos and satellite teaching programs, which have improved the teaching environment and qualities, and solved difficulties in teaching. The students' vision has been broadened as well.

Over thirty higher education institutions have offered educational technology specialties to promote the development of educational technology. About ten institutions offer master programs and three offer doctoral programs, Different levels of personnel training consisting of sub-degree, undergraduate, master and doctoral programs are formed£® The supply of educational personnel has strengthened the work of educational technology. Instructive Committee of Higher Education Institutions for Educational Technology is organized by the Ministry of Education. It is responsible for instructing the teaching of educational technology.
 

2.1.3 Educational Technology on Distance Education in China

2.1.3.1  History

Chinese distance education started from correspondence education in 1950's, The radio and television universities and colleges were widespread in the country by the end of l970's and the net of satellite education took shape in 1980's. With the spread of information technology in l990's, computer multimedia technology and network are used in distance education and merged with satellite education, which has led to a much faster development of distance education.
 

Radio and television universities are the first distance education universities to use electronic communication technology. The main tasks are to offer sub-degree programs and supply programs for vocational and technical education, in-service training, vocational training and continuing education. The tertiary level of teaching and management of the country's radio and television universities are conducted under the overall planning, 468 specialties including literature, economics, politics, law, science, engineering, medicine, agriculture, art, physical education and teacher training are established one after another. The radio and television education system consisting of the CRTVU, 44 provincial radio and television universities, 831 municipal-level radio and television universities and 1699 county-level branches, has formed through twenty years' efforts. According to the 1997 statistics, the total number of graduates of three-year radio and television colleges has reached 2,313,800 and the total enrollment has reached over 700,000. The total number of graduates of specialized secondary schools has reached over 1, 000, 000 and the total enrollment has reached over 400,000. The total number of all kinds of non- degree educational graduates has reached over 30 million. Practical- Skills training has been offered to millions of farmers. From 1996, the CRTVU has organized the education programs from sub-degree programs to degree programs and some experimental higher vocational education and admission of students on a trial basis. The progress of open education and modernization has been speeded up.
 

2.1.3.2  System of Satellite Education

Satellite education channel 1 started broadcasting programs on October 1, 1986. Year 1987 witness the establishment of China Education Television (CETV) and the second and third channels followed up in l988 and 1994 responsible for transmitting educational programs. The contents include degree education of radio and television universities, continuing education after graduation, training and continuing education for teachers and principals, secondary specialties and vocational education, practical-skill training courses for peasants. Channel 1 broadcasts educational news and comprehensive educational programs. Channel 2 focuses on the courses of CRTVU. The programs of Channel 3 mainly for spreading the nine-year compulsory education are jointly run by the Ministry of Education and the government of Shandong Province. Beijing Educational Channel (channel 35) that covers the whole area was established 6y CETV in October, 1996.

Over 940 television stations, and reception and relay stations, 10,000 satellite stations and 66,000 video stations had been established in the Chinese educational system by the end of 1997.

Satellite communication technology presents its special advantages and vitality. Its use in education brings new vigor to education. It widens the teaching scale and contents of radio and television universities. It improves the development of training for secondary and primary teachers and of vocational education. It pushes forward the educational reform and economic and educational development of outlying regions.
Our country is making efforts on transforming the educational satellite net to digital, interactive and Ku wave system with the development of information technology. The feedback system is coming into use by making full use of the net resources, Interactive teaching and transformed educational satellite net will play and important role in the country's distance education.

Construction of Electronic Audio-visual Teaching Materials
Electronic teaching materials are a main part of modern teaching materials and also the key link of educational technology. They become more and more important with the use of high-tech in the field of education. The contents include basic education, higher education, vocational education and radio and TV education. The media include movies, projective films, slides, tape recorders, videos and laser disks, complementary teaching software and the written textbooks for these materials.

2.1.3.3  Modern Distance Education (see Modern Distance Education page)


2.1.3.4  Challenges Facing China's Distance Education Endeavors

1. There is the problem of access. Individual web-based study is still not possible for most people.

2. Internet access is expensive. Most Chinese citizens-particularly those who would most benefit from distance education, cannot afford it.

3. The lack of locally produced software.

4. Online centers are not yet efficiently managed.

5. Many DE teachers lack specific training.

6. A relatively small number of students actually graduate from distance education programs

7. China does suffer at the moment from a lack of infrastructure: inadequate bandwidth; inadequate access to computers; and inadequate software.

8. The legacy of Confucius. Teachers are the protectors of Confucian wisdom and have been well trained in it. For distance education, to succeed it must eventually be embraced by all educators.

2.1.3.5  A Comparison of Chinese and Western Distance Education Initiatives


 

Chinese Distance Education

Western Distance Education

1. A Difference in the Literacy Base

81.5% of China's citizens are literate

97% in Canada and the USA

2. A Difference in the Number of Graduates

The number of university students in China today is 4.5 million.
This is only 0.27% of the country's population.

The total number of students registered in American universities is 10.9 million.
This represents 3.82% of the entire population.

3. A Difference in Available Programs

In China study options are limited primarily to science, culture and technology.
Tuition is free. Medical care is free. A reasonable job is fairly easy to find, and frequently offered upon graduation.

In North America, Europe and Australia, education is expensive, course and program selection is broad and the job prospects for are uncertain.

4. Differences in Attitude and Personal Opportunities

In China admission to a university has been a stressful and complex process which most candidates failed. Only last year, in 2002 were 60% of entrance examination candidates successful. Between 1949 and 1978 only 2,900,000 students graduated from full time universities and colleges.

In many western countries higher education is almost a basic right.

5. Differences of Focus

In China it is a major component of a national system.

Distance education in North America and Europe is primarily a tertiary level skills or academic based affair.

6. The Role of Television

In China television is, a major player in higher education

In western nations, ETV is an option for a minority.

7. The Role of the Internet

In China less than one percent of the population can access the Internet

In many western nations up to 70%

8. Differences in National Goals

 

In the west, there were as many national educational goals as there are educational systems.


Reference

Ariwa. E & Li. R (2005). The impact of e-Learning on China Education and Research Network (CERNET). UK: LondonMetropolitanUniversity. Retrieved from http://www.elearning.au.edu/research/elearning_conference_2005/Proceeding2005%20and%20Book/PP28.pdf 

China Education and Research Network (2001) (CERNET). Educational Technology on Campus. Retrieved from http://www.edu.cn/20010101/21935.shtml  

Friesner. T & Hart.M. (2004). A Cultural Analysis of e-Learning for China. Electronic Journal on e-Learning, Volume 2, Issue 1, 81-88. Retrieved from http://www.ejel.org/volume-2/vol2-issue1/issue1-art24-friesner-hart.pdf 

Potter. G. A Comparison of Chinese and Western Distance Education Initiatives: Educational Goals and Instructional Practices [PDF document]. Retrieved from http://www.cit.nus.edu.sg/DLI2003/Presentation/Geoff_Potter.pdf

Tinio, V. L. ICT in Education. New York: Bureau for Development Policy. Retrieved from http://www.apdip.net/publications/iespprimers/eprimer-edu.pdf 

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