Tech classrooms impress Sejong City

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Tech classrooms impress Sejong City

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A teacher conducts a music class with fifth grade students using tablet PCs and a 72-inch screen that works as a blackboard on Nov. 22, all part of so-called Smart Education at Chamsam Elementary School in Sejong City. The special administrative city designated four schools in the region to first experiment with the smart teaching method in March of this year, drawing wide interest from parents and students elsewhere in the country. By Kim Seong-tae


SEJONG CITY - On Nov. 22, students on their way to music class at Chamsam Elementary School in Sejong City weren’t carrying instruments or text books, but tablet PCs.

As they turned on their electronic device, attendance was instantly registered on the teacher’s electronic desk.

During the class, students listened to a song with ear phones connected to their “smart pads” and wrote their thoughts about the song on their tablets, all part of their so-called Smart Education.

“With Smart Education which is customized for each student, teachers and students communicate more directly with each other than before,” said Yu So-yeong, who teaches at the school.

It has been seven months since Sejong City first rolled out Smart Education at four of its schools.

Since then the education platform has drawn growing interest from parents interested in the cutting-edge technology.

Under the Smart Education system, each classroom is equipped with a 72-inch screen that acts as a blackboard and a teacher’s desk with a built-in personal computer.

Students will be given a smart pad that works like a tablet PC.

When the teacher writes on the big screen, the text will appear on the smart pad, and students’ questions and answers will be automatically sent to the screen.

As the smart teaching method employed by the schools in Sejong City has become widely known, teachers and parents from elsewhere have visited the city to learn from the groundbreaking teaching methods.

“Since the school opened in March this year, more than 300 people have visited to see our way of teaching,” said Jeong Mi-ja, vice principal at Chamsam Elementary School.

The rising popularity of smart education schools coupled with an increased number of transferred students seeking to use cutting edge IT technology in classrooms has produced unintended consequences for the Sejong City Government - over-crowded classrooms.

Less than three months after its opening, Hansol Elementary School now has 1,177 students, far surpassing its allotment quota of 900 students. Hansol Middle School is no different. The number of classrooms needed to teach students has ballooned to 27 from 11 this March.

The Sejong City Office of Education attributes the overcrowding of students to rising public attention to Smart Education being introduced in the city.

“We didn’t expect such a hike in the number of new students transferred here,” said Kim Jong-bae, director at the administrative division at the Sejong education office.

With the ongoing flocking of students to the city, the schools came up with measures to accommodate as many students as possible. Administrative and principal offices of Hansol Elementary School were converted to classrooms with the school’s classroom quota extended to 30 from 25.

Hansol High School also temporarily set up eight classrooms for elementary students to help the school meet growing demands for student allotment.

The education office unveiled its plan to add one more elementary and middle school each by September 2014 in anticipation that more students will flock to the region seeking Smart Education.

By Seo Hyung-sik [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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