U-Learning in Palm of Hand

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Makers of the video-on-the-go players are expanding partnerships with educational content providers as they consider it critical to survive in the ever-intensifying battle with other mobile gadgets such as mobile phone, compact PC and personal digital assistant (PDA). Such a move is in line with the South Korean government's ubiquitous learning (u-learning) plan.

Digital Cube, leading PMP seller in South Korea, which has a 65-percent share of the market, said that it started providing high-quality broadcasting of EBS TV's college entrance test preparation programs. The PMP users can download the video files of the e-learning classes via Internet free of charge. It is the first time for the TV lectures to be transformed to other platforms at high picture quality. The offering of the EBS package is likely to be a big attraction for potential PMP buyers. The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development is basing the college entrance test on the EBS lectures and the TV company insists about 80 percent of last year's test came from the EBS-covered contents. Before the introduction of the EBS lectures, there were various educational contents available on PMP, such as language courses bought from offline content providers. Not only teenagers will benefit from the handheld learning devices. For example, Cowon, another PMP maker, is planning to sell a yoga instruction video made to fit in the small screen of PMPs.

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PMP refers to the palm-sized entertainment unit, which is geared for playing video and audio files. Applications for the technology have been extended to various fields. This year, it has been the satellite car navigation system that has spurred sales. According to Digital Cube, its sales have jumped from 7,000 a month before adopting the navigation programs to 20,000 after. The company is also planning to launch the first multi-tasking e-dictionary in October. The machine, named Udic, will be able to redirect users to multimedia files when searching for the meaning of a word.

Meanwhile, the ministry of Education and human Resources Development has launched its u-learning project by designating 18 elementary, middle and high schools in April for its pilot project. So far, online education networks have focused mainly on PCs and PDAs.

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