Print Publishers Find New Life Through Tablet PCs

Tablet PCs are paving the way for a revival of newspapers and magazines. Many print publications had floundered in recent years amid the rise of digital media, but some are now finding new readers through portable content devices.

More than a thousand publications offer news for free or for pay to users of Apple’s iPad, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook. Major newspapers and magazines including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, Financial Times and Conde Nast are aiming to grab a share of the rapidly growing market.

In April, just six months after the iPad was released, the WSJ and the FT had secured 650,000 and 400,000 readers, respectively, for their iPad applications. Both newspapers provide some articles for free, but charge readers to view full issues.

USA Today’s free iPad app drew one million readers, and the Guardian newspaper launched a free version for iPad users in May and garnered some 400,000 subscribers and US$1.5 million in advertising revenue in just six months.

These soaring numbers are possible as some 19 million tablet PCs have been sold worldwide, experts say, and readership will likely increase exponentially as tablets become more popular.

Some companies are even creating newspapers and magazines designed specifically for tablets. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has developed an iPad newspaper called “The Daily” in conjunction with Apple and plans to unveil it early next year.

This revival is also taking place in Korea, one of the most wired countries in the world. Some 190,000 Galaxy Tabs have been sold here since the device debuted in mid-November, and magazines and newspapers available on the Galaxy Tab digital content store have seen 41,000 and 45,000 downloads, respectively.


Schools Face Transition to Digital Textbooks

Schoolchildren may soon be using digital textbooks after the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology announced Wednesday it will invest W2.2 trillion by 2015 to create an environment where students can study using better and more interactive content anytime and anywhere (US$1=W1,077).

The ministry wants to develop digital textbooks for all subjects and all schools. In the early stage of transition, both paperback and digital textbooks will be used.

The digital textbooks will contain the contents of ordinary textbooks and various reference resources such as multimedia and FAQs to help students understand the materials better. The government also wants to build a cloud computing system in all schools, so that users can access a database of all digital textbooks and choose what they want from their tablet PCs.

Students read textbooks on notebook PCs at Guil Elementary School in Seoul on Wednesday. /Yonhap

This will require a massive server where all digital textbooks will be deposited to be set up at the Korea Education and Research Information Service as well as wifi networks in schools. The ministry plans to provide free tablet PCs for students from low-income families. “It will be up to schools to decide which digital textbooks to choose for students in what year in what subject,” a ministry official said. “We don’t expect the shift to digital textbooks to be difficult as students today are very accustomed to the digital environment.”

The ministry also wants to push for online classes for some subjects that would allow students who have to miss classes to catch up. Those students will get their online hours recognized as attendance. Also under consideration is a plan to allow students who need long-term hospital care due to serious illness to substitute classes online.


No More Skipping Class as College ID Systems Go High-Tech

Technology has revolutionized people’s lives in every way over the past decades, and life on campus is no exception. One noticeable change is that Korean universities are making it harder for students to skip class by installing electronic systems to check attendance. The systems have their roots in the multi-function electronic student ID cards which double as debit and library cards that began appearing on campuses in the 1990s.

Around 2000 many universities such as Yonsei began to install terminals in lecture rooms that use student cards to check attendance. Kyunghee University currently boasts one of the most sophisticated computer systems in the country. In 2006 it introduced its so-called “U-Class System,” which facilitates interactive checks of students’ identification for lecturers. When students insert their ID cards in terminals installed in lecture rooms, their personal information is sent to the lecturer’s computer screen in real-time. By clicking a student’s photo onscreen, the lecturer can access the student’s number, attendance status, and participation rate.

“I check attendance by comparing the photo onscreen with the face of the student sitting in class,” a professor at Kyunghee University said. “Thanks to the electronic system, I can memorize the names and faces of almost all my students by the first week.” Park Se-hwan of the university’s public relations office said, “We have finished installing the U-Class System in 10 out of 37 classrooms with over 100 seats. We plan to add two more by the first semester of next year.”

According to research by the Chosun Ilbo on 20 major universities in Seoul, 11 universities — Catholic, Ewha Womans’, Hanyang, Konkuk, Kookmin, Korea, Kyunghee, Myongji, Sookmyung Women’s, Sungkyunkwan, and Yonsei — have introduced similar systems and are expanding them.

Students can update their photos at any time via their university Web sites, but problems can still occur. “Sometimes there are funny arguments because some students forget to update their photos after getting plastic surgery,” a student said.

On November 25th, 2011, posted in: Uncategorized by
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