CPU to narrow education gap for isolated students
“I made it as any mother would do for her child,” said the mastermind behind the offer, Baek Yeong-ran, the head of applied solution business at LG U+, Korea’s smallest mobile service operator.
The mother of two teenagers had worked as a policy research director at the National IT Industry Promotion Agency, which operates under the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, as well as an economy research director at NHN, the country’s No. 1 Web portal.
“When the tablet computer boom arrived in Korea last year, it struck me that if we preload educational content that students like in tablet computers, it would be both effective and fun,” Baek said. “For me the whole planning and manufacturing process was like creating a good educational tool for my kids.”
What does it mean to be “optimized for educational purposes”?
First of all, LG U+ cut the price. EduTAB comes with a price tag of just 300,000 won ($259) which is much lower than other premium tablet PCs in the market.
Also, preloaded in EduTABs are some video classes offered by the Educational Broadcasting System (EBS), which many students here use for their school studies as well as the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT).
Furthermore, LG U+ offers a special application store for the users - EduApps - in which some 350 education-related apps are available.
But the road leading up to the release of EduTAB wasn’t all joy.
The hardest part, Baek recollects, was finding a compromise between a low price for students and high-quality content. After all, tablet computers are still deemed quite an expensive item.
That LG U+ doesn’t have a lot of experience in the education business didn’t help either.
“Every step was a challenge - finding manufacturers, software developers, securing infrastructure and retail channels. In fact, I’ve experienced all aspects of a product launch as I worked on EduTAB in a relatively short period of time,” the 47-year-old said. “I guess that made me fearless.”
EduTAB is thought to be particularly useful in remote places where students may not have easy access to the latest books and educational materials.
For such reasons, LG U+ donated 50 EduTABs to two elementary schools in mountainous rural areas in Hoengseong, Gangwon and Yeongcheon, North Gyeongsang.
“From what we hear the classroom atmosphere has changed somewhat, with students being more participatory. But we think this is only the beginning,” Baek says.
So far 10,000 units of the device have been sold.
“EduTAB could contribute to narrowing the educational gap and help children in isolated regions or underprivileged families.”
By Lee Soo-ki [firstname.lastname@example.org]