Key Point: Online educational resources are principally intended for users in two age groups: 19 to 24 years old and 25 to 34 years old. The total number of users in these two age groups account for nearly 70% of all users of online educational resources, a statistic as noted in the 2015 White Paper on China's Internet Learning, which was jointly released by the Education Management Information Centre of the Ministry of Education (MOE), Baidu Library, and Beijing Normal University.
This white paper also documented six developmental trends of “Internet+” Education:
1. Users in basic education fields are leading the way in online learning.
According to the online learning survey, teachers and students are migrating to an online learning environment at an increasing rate. Those who are in the basic education field are the most active in online learning.
Looking at all users of online educational resources and their focus on education at each stage, basic education sees the largest number of users of online educational resources, accounting for 51.23% of all total users. In terms of who users are, parents and children make up the largest proportion, with those at primary school level education accounting for 36.19%. At this stage of education, teachers are the main application group, accounting for 50.53%. According to a data comparison between 2014 and 2015, the number of users from 6 to 14 years old has significantly increased.
2. Teachers enrich their teaching with the help of the Internet.
Teachers regularly use online educational resources, often incorporating them into their classroom teaching, demonstrating the open and personalized nature of classroom teaching. The Internet is still fundamentally positioned as a traditional "auxiliary method" of teaching and now new "online learning" resources have gradually begun to attract more attention.
Teachers are mainly using the Internet from 8am to 10pm, with two peak periods from 8am to 10am and 6pm to 8pm. Their average usage period is between 30 minutes and 2 hours and their two main focuses are "lesson preparation" and "compiling tests", but the Internet is also playing a part in student learning support and education management, both of which accounting for 24.4% of teachers’ focus online. Regarding the application of online educational resources in different educational fields, it can be clearly seen that teachers are increasingly focusing on "types of video teaching", "types of online learning" and other resources, which are suitable for supporting students’ learning.
3. Parents have been purchasing online educational resources, with a polarity between amounts spent.
According to the survey on parents' purchase of online educational resources, 44% of them have bought relevant products or resources, with basic education users more positive towards online products and resources. Parents who can afford to buy online service products are often heavily influenced by schools and teachers; it is reported that 62.6% of such parents are willing to accept products recommended to them by schools or teachers. At the same time, children’s awareness of their active involvement in online learning is also increasing, with 47.72% of parents influenced by their children. Finally, when looking at amounts spent on online educational products and resources, users’ purchase limits lie at two points: 50RMB and 1,000RMB, which has informed the further availability of online educational products and services.
4. Basic education is shifting from digitization to a focus on the transformation of education methods.
The construction of education digitization in the basic education field is beginning to focus more on the transformation of education methods. The digitization of regional basic education as represented by Beijing and Shanghai is presented with the characteristic of open learning constructed by information technology, with more open classrooms and open courses starting to appear.
Through the Beijing Digital Campus Experiment Project for secondary and primary schools, Beijing Digital School, research and tests on the transformation of learning methods, and open scientific practice projects, Beijing has advanced the educational system to integrate the openness of digitization into the curriculum, teaching, and evaluation, actively exploring the "general education resource supply" to create an digitized environment within an equal education environment. With such measures appeared a batch of pioneering schools with such characteristics.
5. "Internet+" has had a huge impact on education, with many differential characteristics.
From the point of view of the characteristics of different stages of education, the digitization of education combined with practice has presented differential features for different stages, for example, in the higher education sector, the development of "Internet+" has made greater progress than in other sectors. The practice of open education as represented by MOOC is continuing to develop. In the basic education field, it is imperative to make innovations in education and teaching; create more space for open courses and open education; and construct a hybrid learning environment. As regards pre-school education, sound development has been made in co-education both at home and at kindergarten, in children's personal development, and in data-based precision management. The field of teacher education has also seen advances with information technology support from remote real-time courses and online courses and the promotion of a "national training plan" and "web-based learning environment for teachers". It has also seen the emergence of various "famous teacher workshops", motivating teacher seminars, network seminars, school-based seminars, and other practical forms of education and training. IT is having a profound impact on the pre- and post-service training environment for teacher education.
6. "Internet+" education promotes the openness of primary and secondary school classrooms.
The basic education field is the most active of the different stages of education. Basic education reform and the practice of digitization integration within its system promote the openness of secondary and primary school classrooms. Meanwhile, the social resources collected by "Internet+" can provide detailed homework and a test database service. However, there are currently insufficient resources, courses, and services serving the new curriculum reform goals and supporting students' personalized learning development, which is the basic direction for the improvement of national education reform and development. “Internet+” educational enterprises have taken measures to ensure peak load shifting during the process of integrating basic education reform and education digitization. The overall practice of “Internet+” education needs to play a role in leading the reform and practice of basic education, particularly for the construction of a diversified and high-quality digital curriculum environment.
By Beijing Evening News