FORTVILLE — A group of educators, business leaders and government officials from South Korea visited Mt. Vernon schools Tuesday to learn about integrating technology into education.
The group hoped to learn about computer science education programs, while identifying school partnership opportunities between the United States and the Republic of Korea, said Hyun Kim, deputy director of South Korea’s Ministry of Science, Information and Communications Technology and Future Planning, through an interpreter.
The group of about a dozen South Korean citizens made a stop in Fortville to learn about Mt. Vernon Community School Corp.’s one-to-one technology program, which provides an iPad or Chromebook to every student from kindergarten through 12th grade, and educators’ efforts to use digital devices to enhance their lessons.
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They heard directly from teachers, who demonstrated how the use of video can bring homework assignments to life, who talked about marrying pen-and-paper traditions with the screens and monitors children today enjoy.
Mt. Vernon superintendent Shane Robbins several weeks ago received an email from the U.S. Department of State, a national agency dedicated to international diplomacy, asking whether district officials would be interested in hosting the guests of the department’s International Visitor Leadership Program, he said.
Mt. Vernon administrators jumped at the opportunity — not only for a chance to show off their technology and learning environment but also to make connections with schools in other countries to encourage future exchange programs, Robbins said.
The district this year expanded its international exchange program, signing an agreement with officials from Anshan, China. While exchange students currently can stay at Mt. Vernon schools for only nine days, Robbins envisions a multi-country program offering semester-long exchange opportunities.
While Fortville is a small town, technology has helped school leaders connect with other cultures and other countries, Robbins said.
During a meeting with the group from South Korea, Robbins shared a video about the district’s blended learning techniques, which means classes are taught with a mix of digital materials and more traditional approaches.
Mt. Vernon High School teacher Joe Anderson provided an example, speaking about how he “flipped” his classroom to encourage greater student engagement. For their homework, students watch a video Anderson makes in advance of classes, and then once they arrive to school, they work together in groups to understand and solve problems.
Kim said he and the other delegates were impressed with the school’s efforts to incorporate science, technology, engineering and mathematics into instructional techniques across class topics. He also complimented the peaceful atmosphere of the Mt. Vernon High School campus.
And while the South Korean officials said they were inspired by innovations in the Mt. Vernon school district, they delighted in the little differences, too — among them, the big yellow bus that shuttled them from place to place.
A group of educators, government officials and business leaders from South Korea made a stop at Mt. Vernon Community School Corp. to learn about the district’s efforts to integrate technology into student instruction. Those who attended included:
- Young Kwon Bae, associate professor, Daegu National University of Education
- Tae Ju Hwang, manager, Team of Software Education
- Hyun Kim, deputy director, Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning
- Ho Lee, researcher, Team of Software Education
- Young Jun Lee, professor, Korea National University of Education
- Insoon Seo, teacher, Osan Information High School
- Dongjin Shim, deputy director, SW Education Policy (Elementary & Secondary Education)
- Kapcheon Shin, board director, Association of Teachers for Computing