BEIJING, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Thanks to the internet, students from a middle school in Kangding, Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in southwest China's Sichuan Province, are able to attend classes conducted by teachers from Chengdu No. 7 High School, a prestigious high school elsewhere in the province.
It takes more than three hours to drive from Kangding to Chengdu, but with the help of information technology, students can answer their teachers' questions in less than a minute.
The interaction is just part of China's broader efforts to promote digital education in recent years, in a bid to develop more equitable and higher-quality education, while accelerating modernization in the sector.
The World Digital Education Conference, which opened in Beijing on Monday, is expected to further promote the digitalization of education in China and inject new momentum into the global development of digital education.
China has released multiple plans to better apply information technology to education, with the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China calling for the digitalization of education and the building of a society and country of learning in which lifelong learning is pursued by all.
In recent years, China has upgraded the facilities for digital teaching in schools. All the elementary and middle schools across China have access to the internet, compared with 25 percent in 2012. Moreover, more than three quarters of Chinese schools have wireless networks, and about 99.5 percent of schools have multimedia classrooms.
In March 2022, a public online service platform named "Smart Education of China" was officially launched, focusing on such areas as learning, teaching, school governance and educational innovation.
So far, the platform has received more than 6.7 billion page views and more than 1 billion visitors from more than 200 countries and regions.
The platform provides access to higher-quality education resources for rural primary and secondary schools in the underdeveloped central and western parts of the country. It also allows universities in the west of China to share quality resources provided by universities in the east.
According to Ma Luting, vice president of the National Institute of Education Sciences, in the digital education era, multiple methods of resource development, presentation and communication have changed the conventional classroom teaching methods.
With digital technologies, students from three universities in Jiangsu, Shaanxi and Guizhou provinces have been able to experience a simulated assembly process of China's first homegrown jetliner C919, witnessing the airfoils dock with the fuselage from their classrooms at the same time.
"Employing the digital simulation and virtual reality technologies, we can represent the assembly site at the classroom and have students from different places interact with each other through 5G," said Tian Wei, a professor at the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
The class is a good example of how massive open online courses (MOOCs) are developing in China.
Since 2013, this new form of education, providing instruction free of charge to all, has mushroomed in China. As of November 2022, there were more than 61,900 MOOCs accessible online, with 402 million registered users. China ranks first in the world in both the number of MOOCs and the number of learners online.
China has set up 168 integrated courses available across the globe, initiated mutual credit recognition with 13 world-famous universities, and developed eight open courses in English, attracting more than 7 million learners around the world.
At the World Digital Education Conference, Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan said China is willing to deepen cooperation with other countries in digital education standardization, introduce more quality services and products, and improve digital education governance and public services. ■