Korean Country Elementary School Technology Use Evaluation Introduction: The school I am evaluating is an Elementary school in the countryside

of Korea. In Korea, the country side schools are considered ‘poor’ where the city schools are considered “rich.” I don’t have a window of comparison to see what the city schools do that is different than the country schools. The other issue is that most of the resources and information are in Korean and translation is not always easy.
Racial Demographics Foreigner-Asian 8%

Demographics: Race: The demographics of the school are a majority of the East Asian Korean ethnic group. There is a complex structure for understanding race in Korean society. People outside of this demographic and Korean bloodline are considered foreigners, and are never fully integrated into society even if they immigrate here. This has been changing in recent years, as the first candidate for public office is South East Asian. For purposes of this survey and since the demographics of this school have only a few minorities of Asian decent and no minorities of other races Grade Level: The school is a smaller school with only 267 Students. The class size is almost equally distributed with the smallest class being kindergarten. There are two classes for each grade and roughly 40 students per class. The largest class being 1st grade at 50 students, and the kindergarten being the smallest at 12. Family Income: The area consists of mostly farming and ranching families, and the income rests between high and middle income levels. There are a few families that are of a higher income level demographic than the others. Faculty: There is one foreign faculty member and the rest of the faculty are Korean. Faculty change classes, sometimes grade levels each school year. A teacher in Korea usually stays at a school for a maximum of five years before transferring to another school. It is different than the US where a teacher will stay at the same school for years teaching the same grade. In Korea is is common practice to teach 3rd grade one year, 6th grade the next and then transfer to another city to teach the year after.

Korean 92%

Students
Kindergarten 4% 6th Grade 1st Grade 17% 19% 5th Grade 13% 2nd Grade 14% 4th Grade 3rd Grade 16% 16%

Family Income Demographics
High Income 4% Middle Income 46%

Low Income 50%

Faculty

Foreign 4%

Korean 96%

Administrative: Policy - Islands: Technology is part of life here, but the policies in place are carried out informally and inconsistently. There is a disconnect between those that make the policy provence wide, city wide and with individual schools. Even between schools in the same area there are different policies in place depending on the will of the principal. Planning - Islands: There are special projects that are instigated by specific teachers. Only the specific teacher’s class undergoes planning for implementation, so it depends on the teacher. If the teacher is motivated then there will be planning, but many times planning is avoided because the principal may decide to do something else and the teachers have no way to counter the principal. The cultural hierarchy is strong in Korea and it is hard to plan without the approval of your elders or your boss. What they say goes. Budget - Emergent: Money is there if you can convince allocation for the resource. Again, it depends on the teachers ability to influence the principal or external committee. Budget is allocated for the school and it is a competition of sorts to get the funds for your project. Competing projects may not have technology as a component. Administrative Information - Integrated: There are some paperless systems, but the actual document is still required. There is still more paperwork in the school in Korea even with all the advanced technology present. There are administrative tools available for all staff, but there always needs to be a hard copy.

Administrative Summary:
Integrated 25%

Islands 50%

Emergent 25%

The final outcome of this section is that when it comes to administration, the school is characterized by the Islands of technology stage. There are some great tools but because of some of the cultural issues, they are not as efficient as they could be.

Curricular: Electronic Information - Emergent: The technology curriculum is the teachers computer and a TV display. It’s only available when the teacher shows it on the “board.” The curriculum usually consists of a text book and a DVD. Assessment - Emergent/Islands: Assessment is done on paper, or through a word processing tool. There are tools, but the traditional methods are used the most.

Curricular Integration - Islands: Curriculum technology consists of books and DVD/CD’s. Rather than used as part of the curriculum, they are merely a replacement for the teacher from lecturing. It is not uncommon to see teachers just playing the DVD or CD on the board and “clicking” through the lessons and the students sitting and watching. Teacher Use - Integrated: All teachers have access but not all of them use it. If they want it they have access and can use it, but it is rare that they would use of for something other than their own personal use. Or to use it as a projector. Student Use - Emergent: Students only use technology if the teacher decides to allow it. There is a computer room and computers in the library but the computer room is usually locked and there are only two computers in the library. It is rare to see students use the computers for anything other than playing games on breaks.
Integrated 20%

Curricular Summary: The final outcome of this section is that when it comes to curriculum we have a long way to go and are emergent. Teachers use technology on a daily basis, but it has not reached the level of integrated learning with students.

Islands 30%

Emergent 50%

Support: Stakeholder Involvement: It seems to be a surprise and always last minute when processes are handed down from superiors. If there is planning it is handed down to others, if a leader allows input it is usually superficial and the stakeholders don’t trust it. Administrative Support: It is talked about with the principal but no direct involvement. Almost always last minute, drop what you are doing and implement the new ideas from other people. Training: Training is seen as a burden so participation is low, even when attendance is compulsory. Training exists, but it is random and not always relevant to their classes. Technical/Infrastructure Support: There is a dedicated “tech guy” for the area, and he comes and administers technical support when needed. Full time support but shared with 10 other schools.

Support Summary:
Islands 25% Integrated 25%

Emergent 50%

The support is not as strong as it should be. The stakeholders have no say, as the support is handed to them based on someone else’s needs. The cultural aspects of Korean society influence how support is given, meaning that whomever is the boss or older has the final say.

Connectivity: Local Area Networking (LAN) - Islands: There is a school website, and you can get information from it. Parents, teachers and students can access this site and get information about the school. There are even posting boards for parents to interact. District Area Networking (WAN) - Intelligent: Comprehensive site for teachers district (or in our case provence wide) for Internet Access - Intelligent: Super fast network, can support video conferencing. Super high speed internet access in every classroom, wifi available in most learning areas. Communication Systems - Integrated: E-mail is used and so is instant messaging, it is used daily for communication between staff. E-mail is also used. Connectivity Summary This is one of the strongest aspects of the technology at the school. There are no issues with connectivity and resources here. The internet connectivity is amazing and fast. The resources are just severely underused.

Connectivity
Integrated 38%

Intelligent 63%

Innovation: New Technologies - Islands: The strength of the Korean education system is with test taking, not innovation. Teachers love playing with new technology, but they rarely implement it into their classrooms.

Comprehensive Technologies - Intelligent: Excellent technologies exist and and it is quite comprehensive, it is just not utilized as could be. Innovation Summary:
Intelligent 50% Islands 50%

This section is a toss up. There are many amazing an innovative solutions but they are underutilized. The follow through to keep them going just isn’t there as new principals come to the school and change the school’s culture.

Survey Results
Intelligent 18%

Summary:

The final outcome of this survey is that the school falls between Emergent and Islands. There are many cultural Emergent 29% factors that contribute to this, one of them being the high Integrated context cultural attribute of hierarchy. Just when the school 24% gets some footing in regards to a sound process, the Islands 29% school changes faculty and then the year starts again. Since the faculty changes from year to year and they don’t know what structure they will find with a new principal, or working with a different team they are apprehensive about implementing new things, they need to use what they feel works . There needs to be policies that allow teachers to have a say in policy making and ways to be innovative in the classroom. The locust of control needs to be closer to stakeholders. Unfortunately, based on the way hierarchy is used in Korea this change will not happen quickly. The great thing is that technology is a way of life here, so that while there is not a strong policy structure in place, the technology is rich enough for those who are willing to take the risk to implement it.

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