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Attitudes of Teachers in South Korea Toward Technology Use for Their Classrooms During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Attitudes of Teachers in South Korea Toward Technology Use for Their Classrooms During the COVID-19 Pandemic


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

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.

Aaron Snowberger

November 05, 2021

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  1. Attitudes of Teachers
    in South Korea
    Toward Technology Use
    for Their Classrooms
    During the COVID-19
    Aaron Daniel Snowberger
    Hanbat National University
    Choong Ho Lee
    Hanbat National University

    View Slide

  2. The COVID-19 pandemic led to widespread school closures throughout the world and
    necessitated the rapid adoption of a new paradigm in education. This study reviews some of the
    impacts of COVID-19 on education worldwide and focuses on the attitudes of teachers in South
    Korea toward technology use for their classrooms. While South Korea has been well-equipped to
    adapt to the necessary changes in distance learning and online education prompted by
    nationwide school closures due to its large-scale digital infrastructure and widespread
    adoption of high speed Internet and mobile technologies, a digital divide exists
    between teachers, their students, and technological expectations.
    At the start of the pandemic, many teachers unaccustomed to using
    digital tools for education found themselves overwhelmed with the
    need to learn and adapt so quickly. Constant and rapid advancements
    in technology in the future may further widen the digital divide
    between teachers, students, and educational expectations, and
    therefore demands a strategic approach to ongoing teacher
    technological education.

    View Slide

  3. COVID-19’s Impact Rich nations
    Poor nations
    School Closures
    1.5 billion
    all learners
    Closure Length
    school year
    Distance Edu
    take-home packs
    “Very effective”
    take-home packs

    View Slide

  4. South Korea
    KERIS e-Learning site
    in 2 weeks
    470,000 ➜ 3 million
    EBS online classroom
    in 4 weeks
    10,000 ➜ 3 million
    But only the expansion of technological services only is not enough.
    Skill Gap
    “Digital natives” (young)
    “Digital Immigrants” (old)
    Opportunity Gap
    Income level
    Location Gap

    View Slide

  5. 73 IETTP Trainees 74 Teachers
    What: Intensive English
    Teacher Training Programme
    What: Online survey
    Who: Korean elementary,
    middle, high school teachers
    Who: University teachers,
    public, private, hagwons, etc.
    Sponsor: Jeollabuk-do
    Office of Education
    Nation: Korean & Foreign
    Residence: Jeollabuk-do Residence: All over Korea
    Data Sets Analyzed

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  6. Comfort Level & Current Use of ICT
    Comfort Level with Tech in school
    Current Use of Tech in school
    What is interesting to note about these two
    graphs is that middle and high school teachers
    (lower portion) indicate lower levels of both
    comfort and use of ICT in class than
    elementary school teachers.
    The next surveys collected answers based
    on a self-reported 5-point Likert scale.
    It’s interesting to note that 81% of
    respondents indicated that the COVID-19
    pandemic caused them to learn more
    about ICT for education. However, Figure 4
    shows that the majority of digital tools
    used in classrooms in Korea continues to
    be primarily Word Processing (84%), the
    Internet (81%), videos (81%), PPTs (78%), &
    real-time chat programs (Zoom) (62%).

    View Slide

  7. Digital Competence & Digital Tools Use
    Attitudes Toward Lifelong Learning Professional Attitude
    Professional Digital Competence Professional Application of Tools
    Top 5

    View Slide

  8. Although teachers in Korea have learned more about ICT tools for education, the tools
    utilized remain the de facto ICT tools such as PPTs, videos, Word Processing for reports,
    and the Internet. And although Korea greatly increased its capacity for online classes,
    the teachers surveyed have not dramatically adjusted their methods beyond their
    original classroom capabilities. Many Korean public school teachers still feel
    overwhelmed by the new educational paradigm presented by the COVID-19 pandemic
    and the necessity (or opportunity?) presented by distance learning and online classes.
    This is unfortunate because Korea has a highly developed ICT
    infrastructure, and there are plenty of options for more creative and
    collaborative uses for ICT in classrooms. But the teachers who are
    in a position to provide such opportunities to students are either
    unaware of them, or untrained in their use.
    Therefore, there is a great need for ongoing teacher technology
    education, particularly for public school teachers, particularly in
    non-STEM disciplines.
    Top 5

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  9. References
    [1] OECD (2021), The State of School Education: One Year into the COVID Pandemic, OECD Publishing, Paris,
    [2] UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank (2020). What have we learnt? Overview of findings from a survey of ministries of
    education on national responses to COVID-19. Paris, New York, Washington D.C.: UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank.
    [3] UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank (2020). Survey on National Education Responses to COVID-19 School Closures,
    round 2. Paris, New York, Washington D.C.: UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank. (Key findings
    [4] Jeong-hun Lee, S. Korea now ranks world’s 10th biggest economy, Hankyoreh, Apr.22,2021. Available online:
    [5] Ministry of Education, Responding to Covid-19: Online Classes in Korea (June 2020), KOSIS.kr, Available online:
    [6] McNaught, C. Lam, P., & Ho, A. (2009). The digital divide between university students and teachers in Hong Kong. In
    Same places, different spaces. Proceedings ascilite Auckland 2009.
    [7] Emily Tate, The Digital Divide Has Narrowed, But 12 Million Students Are Still Disconnected. (Jan 27, 2021), Edsurge,
    Available online:
    [8] Pei-Yu Wang. Examining the Digital Divide between Rural and Urban Schools: Technology Availability, Teachers'
    Integration Level and Students' Perception, (Nov 12, 2013), Journal of Curriculum and Teaching. pp. 127-139.
    [9] Grigg, A. T. (2016). Evaluating the effect of the digital divide between teachers and students on the meaningful use of
    information and communication technology in the classroom, https://ro.ecu.edu.au/theses/1807.
    [10] Steinar Thorvaldsen and Siri Sollied Madsen (March 8th 2021). Decoding the Digital Gap in Teacher Education: Three
    Perspectives across the Globe, Teacher Education in the 21st Century - Emerging Skills for a Changing World, Maria Jose
    Hernandez-Serrano, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.96206. Available from

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