Subscribers to electronic library for schoolchildren

Contemporary schoolchildren using electronic means of learning
By Veronica Teplova

This year, several schools have piloted the use of tablet PCs, explains Belarus’ Education Minister, Sergey Maskevich. “The experiment has aroused enhanced interest from schoolchildren. Results will be analysed at the end of the academic year, as we’re awaiting doctors’ opinions on this use of IT; if their conclusion is positive, the experiment will be continued.”

He adds that the range of books, magazines and other printed editions will be extended in electronic form — and constantly updated. “These aren’t just books in digital format,” he explains. “They boast supplementary illustrations and interactive aspects, allowing us to model a situation or set up an experiment which would be difficult to organise in reality.”

The Education Ministry is increasingly interested in ensuring that young people enjoy an environment filled with contemporary IT, linked to the Internet. “We’re now speaking about electronic versions of text books, as well as additional literature. There’s a proposal to make audio versions of literary works, for use on computers and mobile phones, recorded by our best actors. We’ve already received offers in this regard,” adds Mr. Maskevich. “We’re now compiling lists of literary works and, I think, the idea will be ready for schoolchildren by the next academic year. The project is being co-authored with Russian colleagues, creating a full-text electronic library. We plan to create this resource for use in secondary schools within two years.”

However, electronic books won’t be the only focus, as the Minister stresses. “Electronic books can’t replace paper editions, as each performs a different task. The former are good as reference books, enabling youngsters to find information quickly. Traditional books are more appropriate when referring to materials repeatedly throughout the academic year. I’m convinced that electronic books will act as a supplement.”
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