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Brushtalk on Teaching Materials |Comparative Advantage and Blueprint of Teaching Materials Construction of Basic Education in China


Chen Shuangye, Deputy Director of Department of Education of ENCU, ICI Professor, PhD Supervisor, Chief Editor of ECNU Review of Education

China is a big country in education and teaching materials, and it is moving towards becoming a powerful country in teaching materials. China's basic educational teaching materials have played an active role in supporting the quality and fairness of the world's largest education system. The quality national textbook system and system have formed Chinese experience that can contribute to the world in ensuring the quality and fairness of education. However, in the new era of educational power and high-quality education development, how teaching materials can effectively implement the national will and support high-quality development of build moral integrity and education power has become a daunting task.

From the printing era to the era of digital media, the fundamental challenge to the form of teaching materials is the separation of teaching material knowledge and media forms. Teaching materials and teaching material systems will inevitably face the transition from paper books to multi-modality in the era of screen reading and then to generative artificial intelligence. It is difficult to learn from the outside world when it comes to selecting and trying solutions for the construction of China’s teaching material system. Instead, we need to turn to ourselves and independently explore the possibilities in local development experience.

1. The construction of China’s basic education textbook system has the comparative advantages of technological ecology and organizational system.

China's current social information development level and diverse network technology application ecology constitute technological ecological advantages; a huge educational system, a multi-level team of education professionals, and systematic mobilization, coordination and organizational mechanisms constitute institutional advantages. The ecological advantage means that under the current application of various network technologies in China, an important technology and application ecology has been formed, so that the concept of multi-modal teaching materials that breaks through the single book form is no longer a fantasy, but has more specific practical forms for direct reference. In China's plan to support the construction of the teaching material system, the most obvious advantages of China's education system are: first, the large number of teachers, students and education practitioners; second, the professional teaching team that has stratified division of labor (special-level teachers, senior teachers, jiaoyanyuan, etc.) and inclusive mechanism for practices and mobilization by professional communities; third, strong top-down systematic resources, human mobilization and organizational coordination capabilities lead to the achievement that are "concentrating efforts to accomplish great tasks". Education systems in other countries do not have these three institutional advantages at the same time. For example, there is a lack of effective intervention in the market-oriented operation of existing teaching materials, a lack of a sufficiently mature and large-scale professional staff team, and a lack of systematic organization, mobilization and coordination, etc.

2. In the future, we should focus on building a teaching material system supported by the “National Knowledge Management System”

In education systems around the world, the forms of teaching materials range from loose and diverse to a strict and single form: from extremely loose and highly teacher-dependent teaching material forms to a single printed, highly centralized and authoritative textbook. Entering the digital age, China's traditional diachronic process of compilation, review and selection of textbooks will definitely be broken by digital transformation. Therefore, in the future, there is an urgent need to reconsider the contemporary significance and strategic positioning of teaching material construction and national knowledge management from the aspects including the changes in technology and social forms in the new era, the significance of textbook construction in the strategy of educational power, and the knowledge management and governance in the digital era.

The future construction of the teaching material system must break through the Western classic power-critical perspective of "textbooks are official knowledge" and go beyond the traditional theory of teaching material system construction at the level of the "editing, review and selection" process, and rely more on "knowledge management" theory and China’s textbooks using experiences to creatively transform classic theories, and generate a "national knowledge management system" that conforms to China's reality and highlights China's institutional advantages. That is, from the systematic perspective of knowledge management, we re-evaluate the huge amount of various knowledge values in the operation of original teaching materials. , especially the uncoded practical knowledge, re-understand the production and use mode of teaching materials in the digital and Internet era, so as to carry out systematic planning and construction in the top-level design from curriculum plans to textbooks, teaching aids and teaching staff, breaking through the single construction idea that only starts from the material form and text content of "teaching materials".

The establishment of a teaching material system supported by the national knowledge management system can, on the one hand, solve the fundamental problem which is a closed chain of textbooks-learning materials-teacher’s book-teaching aids is unable to meet various needs; on the other hand, it can adapt to the needs for management and regulation of the knowledge age and systematically submit, process, transfer, generalize and transform numerous distributed implicit knowledge into more valuable professional knowledge. This is the dividend of the Internet era and the knowledge society that has given to China, a superpower in education and population.