Innovation in Education in the Internet Age

Over the past 20 years of China’s development, the most innovative Internet information technology has penetrated into all aspects of the social sphere, bringing tremendous changes to the development patterns and decisions of various industries. How can the education industry, which is responsible for the future of the country and the nation, use Internet information technology to eliminate the education divide among different income groups and regions and achieve equalization of quality education resources?

From 1998 to 2018, China’s Internet has experienced a period of rapid development. In just 20 years, China’s Internet has grown from scratch, from small to large, and from weak to strong, which can be called a legend of this era when viewed on the long history of China.

In the past two decades, the Internet has profoundly changed the habits of all walks of life, but its impact on education, especially in remote areas, has been very limited. Internet education is not simply “education based on Internet technology”, but “education based on Internet thinking”.

The Internet has never been able to subvert the core value of the education industry, but Internet education can improve the efficiency of education, optimize the experience of education and enrich the choices of education through the thinking mode and solutions of the Internet.

The scenario of education is very complex, and the target users of Internet education products include higher-level units, schools, teachers, parents and students. Different users have different needs. Higher-level units, such as national, provincial, and municipal education authorities, want to use Internet education products to dynamically grasp education data in their jurisdictions, facilitate supervision and decision-making, and more strongly achieve fair and balanced development of education. The needs of schools for education products include digital campus construction, teaching management, teaching and research, and comprehensive teacher management evaluation. The needs of students/parents are student learning, comprehensive student evaluation, and home-school communication, etc. The needs of teachers are load reduction, promotion, daily management, etc. In the face of Internet education product users with different identities, ages and roles, we can start Internet education product innovation and build digital education platforms from the following three aspects:

I. Delivering high-quality education resources to remote rural areas to improve regional teaching quality.

How to let children in remote areas also enjoy the same educational resources as children in big cities, and how to let the resources of famous teachers in Beijing Haidian can influence the education in remote areas? Through the Internet! To influence children, we must first train excellent teachers. The teacher training platform can integrate and optimally allocate educational resources with data through Internet technology, allowing learning resources to be more and more effective. The sharing of high-quality schools, teachers and teaching resources can provide a powerful weapon to make up for knowledge and skills and narrow the gap in regional knowledge and culture levels in less economically developed areas and areas lacking excellent teachers.

In our pilot school in Shangrao County, Jiangxi Province, the central elementary school of Shiren Township, the most remote area, has been able to learn online through a teacher training platform developed by Red Nine. In just one year, more than 100 teachers across the township learned through the platform, and a third of them-more than 30-won ministerial, provincial, municipal, and county awards for excellence, a revolutionary breakthrough for teachers in remote mountainous areas. In the 2017-2018 school year, the school moved up 15 places in the overall ranking of the county’s primary and secondary schools in the comprehensive teaching evaluation, crossing from the bottom to the upper middle of the county.

Because of the national quality teacher learning platform, teachers’ teaching has improved very significantly, and students’ learning has improved significantly. The average scores, pass rates, and attainment rates of students in the pilot classes in both language and foreign language have all increased significantly from the previous levels. In one pilot class, the average language score increased by 8 points, the passing rate increased by 11%, and the attainment rate increased by 15%.

Second, based on the understanding of national policies and local teaching and management scenarios and users, we establish a big data-based educational intelligent decision-making system.

Balanced development of compulsory education is a strategy of the Party and the country, a move for people’s livelihood, and a historic and important task in the great practice of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. The national supervision and assessment of the basic balanced development of compulsory education in counties (cities and districts) is recognized to start the supervision and assessment and review regularly every year, focusing on solving the problem of unbalanced development between urban and rural areas and between schools in the region, striving to run every school well, and striving to let every child enjoy a fair and quality education.

In the supervisory feedback, more attention is paid to the social hot and difficult issues of compulsory education such as large class size, large school capacity, campus safety, school choice fever, etc., and more attention is paid to the deep-rooted institutional mechanism issues such as government performance, layout adjustment, teacher establishment, school land, supervisory authority, etc. The balanced development of compulsory education has achieved remarkable results in improving school conditions, optimizing the teaching force, narrowing the gap between schools, promoting quality improvement, and caring for special groups. Since its launch in 2013, 2,379 counties have passed the assessment as of February 2018.

At the same time, we found that in the process of national initiation of supervision and school orientation, education upper management and schools are very lack of convenient, friendly and dynamic information service platform. Through extensive research around the country, in-depth communication with school principals and informatization leaders, repeated polishing and pilot runs, the R&D team of Red Nine developed the education supervision system, teacher management platform, student management platform, and asset management platform to facilitate dynamic supervision and self-inspection of compulsory education balanced development indicators by higher management units and schools, and to grasp school operation in real time. Understand the personalized growth of each teacher and student.

Future outlook Internet education innovation should have its own understanding of the industry and user needs, and needs to have a very precise scale, neither across the current situation of industry development, nor slower than the current needs of users.

In the process of developing Internet education products, the biggest difficulty we encounter is neither the experience of the Internet nor the complexity and experience of technology, but the conflict with the traditional education system, the collision of users’ ideas and the understanding of the education industry. Only through in-depth understanding of national policies, understanding of the education industry, in-depth research and quick verification can we polish useful and usable Internet education products.

Internet education innovation is not a blind search for new changes and should not come out of thin air. Education innovation must be built on respect for the basic laws of education, based on the existing organizational model, technical level and overall social awareness, and constantly explore the way forward. This requires us in the Internet education industry to keep an empty glass mentality and respectful heart at all times.

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