Thai Education Ministry demonstrates tablet usage

The Education Ministry yesterday showed Prathom 1 students easy ways to access their computer tablets and enter lessons and applications. The Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) approved of the simple access.

"They just need to touch on the screen a few times, and then enter any programmes they want," an official said.

First, the official touched an icon called Por 1 in Thai (Grade 1).

The tablet showed the new page with icons of five subjects including the English language, maths, Thai, social studies and science, songs for learning and other applications such as voice recording, lost and found and the academic calendar.

When he touched an icon for any subject, all the learning objects for each period on that subject appeared.

Students could enjoy learning from the multimedia lessons they preferred.

Obec secretary-general Chinnapat Bhumirat said it had reduced the access procedure after pilot schools using the tablets said there were too many steps for entering applications and lessons.

As many as 336 learning objects for the five subjects would be installed in each tablet, plus PDF files.

Chinnapat said Obec would provide a dictionary and drawing and painting applications and was considering if it should provide a multiplication table, chanting book and other applications.

Chinnapat said all the information installed in each tablet would use at least half of the 8GB memory. If any schools found other helpful applications, there would be space available to install them.

Education Minister Suchart Tadathamrongvej said the government would buy one million tablets for Prathom 1 students in both government and private institutions, requiring a Bt2.4 billion (S$97,670) budget.

He said vocational institutions in 77 provinces would help with maintenance, and Shenzhen Scope Scientific Development would give a two-year warrantee.

The Information and Communi-cations Technology Ministry is drafting the purchase contract. Reports said the contract would be checked for approval by the Office of the Attorney General first.

Chinnapat said the first batch of 2,000 tablets would come to Thailand 15 days after the contract is signed.

Obec will train 549 supervisors to help instruct 54,900 Prathom 1 teachers during this summer vacation to be ready to teach their pupils using the tablets when school reopens.

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