Last August Fast Company broke the story that Turkish officials were having conversations with US companies about their plans to equip every student with a tablet computer.  This morning, World Bulletin reported that the first 12,000 tabs are arriving at schools as part of the Movement to Increase Opportunities and Technology (FATİH) project.

The tablet PCs have been produced by General Mobile and Samsung for the project. A team of 100 qualified technicians will be available to address any problems that teachers and students may experience. The tablet PCs come with a guarantee and have a specially designed frame to protect them when they happen to be dropped. The software will also be protected against unapproved downloads from outside sources.  All the ninth grade textbooks have been uploaded onto tablet PCs within the scope of the project. They include visual elements and animations for related course subjects. The students will also be able to connect to the Internet with their tablet PCs.

The project, often referred to as revolutionary, was first introduced at an inauguration ceremony attended by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in November 2010. Undertaken by the Ministry of Education and supported by the Ministry of Transportation and Communication, the massive project is expected to encompass 570,000 classrooms in 40,000 schools around Turkey once completed.

Korea will be fully digital by 2015.  Big pilot projects are under way in the Philippines.  If Turkey can make the shift to personal digital learning in the next three years, so can every one of the United States.

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Tom Vander Ark is author of Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, The Power of Place, Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and serves on the boards of Education Board Partners, 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.



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