Newport Digital Technologies Inc., through its partnership with two premier technology incubators, both based in Taiwan: the Institute for Information Industry (III) and the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), has developed a rich portfolio of competencies, based upon the latest achievements in wireless broadband networking. But none has a greater potential for social change than eLearning, the new approach to school and training, featuring next-generation WiMAX broadband wireless technology.

With the pace of new discoveries increasing daily, and the participation of more and more countries in an information-based global economy, the need for better ways of transferring knowledge has never been greater. Traditional models of education, based upon individual classrooms and instructors, are proving too labor-intensive to be affordable. In addition, continuing changes in what must be learned requires education to be a lifelong process, available to all age groups in a highly flexible form.

Wireless broadband technology, together with the emergence of low-cost personal computing and innovative online educational applications, has opened up new ways to meet this need, a worldwide market that has already grown to over $50 billion. The solution is e-Learning, enabled by developments in Internet and multimedia technologies. It’s an approach that offers clear and major benefits, from the highest governmental and organizational levels down to the individual learner.

• First of all, it makes training and education affordable, regardless of who is footing the bill. Instead of addressing a few dozen students, the best instructors will be able to reach tens of thousands. The cost per student will be a small fraction of the traditional model, making it available to a larger number of people in this country and around the world.

• Education will also be more flexible, geographically and otherwise. People living in areas with a poor educational infrastructure will now have access to many of the same educational opportunities as anyone else. Workers in a remote field environment can be trained on site. Individuals unable to easily leave their home, or with a difficult time schedule, can still be reached. People with special educational needs can have their requirements met. Although some may question the loss of physical interaction between student and teacher, the compensation will be a much more dynamic electronic interaction, providing more effective visual aids and information linkage.

• A side benefit of eLearning is a smaller impact on the environment. Extensive travel to and from physical centers of education, with all of the associated pollution, will be replaced with logging in, requiring only a small amount of power per user. Even paper usage will be reduced, as information is increasingly displayed electronically.

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