How Do Korean Public School Teachers Feel About Technology in Classrooms (During COVID-19)?

This poster presentation was given at the Korean Institute for Practical Engineering Education (KIPEE) 2021 fall conference in Cheonan, South Korea. I won the “Best Thesis” award in the category this was in.

This poster presentation was given at the Korean Institute for Practical Engineering Education (KIPEE) 2021 fall conference in Cheonan, South Korea.

I won the “Best Thesis” award in the category this was in.

Motivations:
I’m a Google Certified Trainer, and actively teach workshops and classes specifically targeted toward helping school teachers better utilize technology in their classrooms, both for themselves and for their students.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I noticed many of my colleagues at Jeonju University (where I’m also an English teacher) struggled with the shift to fully online classes. Many of them complained of a quadrupling (or at least a doubling) of their normal workload. For myself, my workload was greatly reduced, almost halved, because I’m comfortable with technology and found it quite easy and intuitive to put together online classes (and even more enjoyable than face-to-face classes).

At that time, I was also invited back to participate in a Teacher Training program for Korean elementary, middle, and high school teachers. They wanted me to help train public school teachers about how to use technology for their classrooms. When I joined the program, I found the majority of the teachers were overwhelmed by new expectations brought on by the pandemic, and didn’t have a good idea about the kinds of tech tools they could use for their classrooms, nor even how to implement their ideas with tech tools even if they knew some.

I began gathering a collection of surveys from my trainees to assess how comfortable they were with tech in school, how much their currently used (before and at the beginning of the pandemic), and the kinds of tools they used. This research is a reflection of that.

For the most part, as found in this research, public school teachers in Korea are the most comfortable with creating documents (Hangul, Word), using the Internet for research, showing videos in class (but not creating videos), using PowerPoint, and gradually, they became adjusted to online video conferencing programs like Zoom (but this was not the case before the pandemic).

In fact, there are MANY more tools that are available to educators than just these, but the majority of teachers either don’t know about them, or don’t know how to use them (nor even how they CAN be used). Therefore, continuing education classes and workshops (like the kind I provide) are essential to helping teachers get up to date with the new educational paradigm (blended learning with tech tools) brought on by the pandemic. Additionally, life-long education FOR educators is imperative.

It’s a mistake to assume teachers should not at least understand the technologies their own students are using. Teachers themselves stand in an excellent position to become role models for ethical and humane tech use, and they should at least understand enough about tech issues to provide input about privacy, ethical, and addictive issues that may arise in the technology and apps that students frequently use.

Author: Aaron

Aaron Snowberger is an experienced web developer, graphic designer, and educator in ESL and computer technology. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Master's degree in Media Design, and professional certifications for React (JavaScript) development, and as a Google Certified Educator and Trainer. Aaron is passionate about helping new learners discover the joys of technology, and has presented across the country at multiple local, national, and international conferences in both the ESL and web development fields. His most recent talk was given at the 2019 JSConf (JavaScript Conference) in Seoul on September 3, 2019. (https://2019.jsconfkorea.com/en/tutorials)

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