To cultivate the information literacy and application competence of the people of our nation, and to foster national development of information technology, the Ministry of Education has actively planned the promotion of information education in schools at all levels. Through information technology, it is expected that both education quality and equal opportunity to education can be enhanced. Moreover, the educational concepts of nurturing students according to their own nature, and lifelong learning can be fulfilled.
The Establishment of Information Teaching Environments in Elementary and Junior High Schools
Since the Taiwan Academic Network (abbreviated as TANet) was established in 1990, internet services have been provided by universities to elementary and junior high schools. Projects have continued to be promoted as follows: the Informative Teaching Improvement Project in Schools at all Levels, the Computer Assisted Teaching Development and Promotion Project, the Information Education Fundamental Project, the National Information Infrastructure (NII) Talented Individual Cultivation Medium Development Project, the Distance Learning Medium Development Project, and the Social Education Information Website Project. In 1999, the Expansion of Requirements in Our Nation – the Establishment of Teaching Software and Hardware Environments in Elementary and Junior High Schools was undertaken, which enabled all schools to be equipped with computer classrooms, and connected to the Internet. In 2009, the Establishment of Quality and Fair Digital Education Environment Project in Elementary and Junior High Schools was carried out, which aimed at establishing e-subject classrooms, digital classrooms, and an information security protection service system. Since 2012, the Project of the Education Cloud Application and Platform Service Promotion has been promoted. In 2016, the establishment of the Project of Education Academic Stem Internet Bandwidth Efficiency Enhancement was completed. The aforementioned projects sought to comprehensively improve various digital learning environments.
In 2017, the Project of Establishing Campus Intelligent Websites in elementary and junior high schools under the Foresight Foundation Project- Digital Foundation, and the Project of Strengthening Digital Teaching and Learning, Information Application Environment were implemented. The aforementioned projects were intended to operate until the end of 2020, to promote digital campuses and intelligent learning, so as to further integrate information into digital teaching and learning applications in all fields.
The Establishment of Internet Learning Systems, and the Emphasis on Digital Care
In 2001, the Overall Blueprint of Information Education in Elementary and Junior High Schools was declared, in order to integrate information education into teaching through innovative teaching activities. In 2002, the Challenge 2008: National Development Focal Project proposed the goal of “Setting up a system of online education for all people”. The supporting measure of “lowering the digital gap between elementary and junior high schools in cities and those in the country” was put into effect. In 2008, the Information Education in Elementary and Junior High Schools White Paper stated that the major goals of making good use of information technology were to: motivate creative thinking, share digital resources, and guarantee opportunities for digital learning. Implementation strategies included: enriching the contents of digital learning, strengthening teachers’ and students’ information literacy, and simultaneously establishing a security wall to screen out inappropriate internet information. In 2008, Item 6 of “The Digital Education and Internet Learning Project” of the Digital Collection and Digital Learning National Technology Project was put into operation. The Ministry of Education has integrated information education into teaching, as well as into the development and promotion of digital teaching materials, and has encouraged colleges and universities to cooperate with different schools for digital learning courses.
In 2005, in accordance with policy planning for “lowering the digital gap in cities and the country” from the Executive Yuan, the Creation of Digital Learning Opportunities in Remote and Isolated Areas Promotion Project was undertaken. Through the establishment, operation and guidance of the “Digital Learning Opportunity Center”, the combination of information volunteers from colleges and universities, and resources from private organizations, has led to the enhancement of information usage and digital learning opportunities of people and children in remote and isolated areas. Throughout 2016-2019, Session 4 of Digital Application Promotion Project in Remote and Isolated Areas was promoted. The Ministry of Education invited private organizations and government departments to jointly invest resources for four purposes: expanding assistance in digital applications, providing services for diverse groups in remote and isolated areas (new residents, indigenous peoples, middle-aged people, and women), reaching community consensus, and developing features and promotion of local places via digital technology.
Cultivation of Students’ Innovative Application Competencies
In 2016, the Ministry of Education started to: strengthen students’ innovative application competency; promote innovative teaching methods, aesthetic education, and digital education; develop teachers’ learning communities; and offer guidance to transfer teaching and learning patterns. This was expected to strengthen students’ 6 major innovative competencies: problem solving, aesthetics in life, digital learning, interdisciplinary integration, diverse innovation, and teamwork. The Ministry of Education also promoted the following matters:
1. Developing teachers’ learning communities.
2. Providing subsidies for schools at all levels to implement the Maker Education Promotional Foundations (including 5 universities of Science and Technology, 24 senior high schools, and 6 teacher education universities).
3. Implementing the Aesthetic Education Courses Promotion Project.
4. Undertaking the Rooting Project of Aesthetic and Art Education in Preschools.
5. Offering subsidies to carry out diverse art education activities.
6. Promoting the Computational Thinking Promotion Project.
The Comprehensive Digital Learning Education Promotion Plan
In 2013, the Ministry of Education formulated a plan to establish the Taiwan Academic Network stem bandwidth. In 2016, the bandwidth was upgraded from 10GB to 100GB. The range of the bandwidth on campuses’ wireless networks and the Support Internet Protocol version 6 (abbreviated as IPv6), in most areas is 40GB to 100GB. The range of the bandwidth in local governments is 4GB to 12GB. Currently, all schools are able to access the wireless network, and are equipped with e-subject classrooms. In 2018, the wireless network coverage in classrooms reached 75%.
In 2012, education cloud application and platform services were promoted, which enabled educational application systems and resources to become accessible on the Cloud. Resource integration on the Cloud, inventories, and franchises between local governments and the official departments could thus be established. Currently, the services provided on the Cloud are: campus e-mails, and a single account verification system in inter- municipalities, counties and cities. Other services on the Cloud are also promoted, such as: Edu Learning, Edu Fun Learning Kingdom, Education Market, Edu Education Encyclopedia, Edu Video Cloud, Teacher e College, Edu Education Treasure Vault. About 9,000,000 visitors are currently using services of the aforementioned Cloud services.
Regarding the development of digital learning and teaching applications, current curriculum guidelines for elementary and junior high schools regulate the appropriate and efficient use of diverse teaching media so as to enhance teaching outcomes. Through the Internet, web conferences, and transmission media, teachers and students can have interactive teaching and learning. Simultaneously, the Ministry of Education also encourages schools to develop teaching applications in information technology, including mobile learning, and digital learning mates. Through model elementary and junior high schools, diverse innovative teaching patterns can be developed. In 2018, 213 elementary and junior high schools in our nation participated in the Mobile Learning Project, which included approximately 1,257 classes, and 31,000 teachers and students. 4,249 participants have taken part the matching system between the teaching side and the learning side of digital learning, (including 2,500 people from the teaching side, and 1,749 people from the learning side). In total, accompanied learning hours have reached 100,000 hours.
Currently, more than 60% of universities have established distance learning courses, comprising 1.3% of all courses in our nation, attended by 14% of all students in our nation. 10 schools have set up Internet Degree Courses, and recruited 14 classes. Regarding the Open Course Ware (abbreviated as OCW), 22 universities and 2 senior high schools have participated in this program, offering 1,378 open courses in total. In addition, in 2018, more than 60 universities developed 420 Massive Open Online Courses (abbreviated as MOOCs). Through this new type of learning, quality online course resources can be shared, an interactive learning system can be offered, and all learners of our nation who are willing to study can thus participate in campus courses learning and discussions without registration.