Ms. Karen Krzystof-Bansley of Maddock School was one of only 30 teachers selected as a World History Digital Education (WHDE) Fellow. The highlight of the fellowship was a ten day visit to the Republic of Korea focused on researching Korean history and culture. The trip was held from July 6th through July 16th and emphasized a deeper understanding of the rich history of the Korean peninsula, including its simultaneous economic growth and democratization. During the trip, fellows explored the history and culture of Korea through key historical sites, museums, and conversations with various scholars.
Fellows went through a competitive selection process. After their acceptance, they were required to complete readings related to the live webinars on various topics about Korea. As part of the fellowship, teachers must also create a unique lesson plan connected to their trip to Korea and present about their experiences there.
According to the Founder of World History Digital Education, Dr. Jongwoo Han, “it is always an honor to share the culture and history of Korea with teachers so that they can share it with their students.”
Among the highlights of the trip was a visit to the the Demilitarization Zone (DMZ) to see the sixty-year-old border that has divided the Korean people. Fellows visited Dorasan Station, the northernmost train station in South Korea as well as the Third Tunnel of Aggression which had been used during the Korean War. Additionally, fellows had a very special tour of the Freedom Village, Daeseong-dong, located close to the border.
Fellows also had the opportunity to visit other sites, supplemented with scholarship, during their time in the Republic of Korea. The itinerary included exploration the Gyeongbokgung Palace used during the Joseon dynasty, a tour of POSCO Steel Headquarter in Pohang, and a visit to the National Museum. Fellows were also given a guided tour of the grounds of the Blue House (Cheong Wa Dae), the equivalent to the White House in the US. During the trip, fellows also interacted with Korean scholars through lectures and discussions.
The trip also included unique overnight stays. Fellows had the opportunity to spend the night in the Bulguksa Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the temple, teachers learned about a monastic life, practiced meditation, and had a special question and answer session with the head monk of the monastery. Fellows also stayed in traditional Korean Housing near Andong where they were treated to a private Pansori concert. When asked about the trip, Ms. Krzystof-Bansley stated, “The 2019 Teachers’ Research trip to Korea was incredibly eye-opening and informative. The teachers in my group were willing to step out of their comfort zone, including trying exotic foods and participating in a Buddhist ceremony, which made the trip even more memorable. I plan to share Korean history and culture through a school-wide initiative which will include a Korean themed Family Geography Night.”
This trip was sponsored through the generous support of the Korea Foundation. In addition to this annual trip, the World History Digital Education has worked to create innovate digital resources in world history to support educators in teaching about Korea. You can also find more information about education materials and the Korean Research Trip at www.worldhistoryde.org.
About the World History Digital Education Foundation
The advent of digital technology challenges conventional ways of educating students and creates unlimited opportunities deliver digital educational materials. In this transition from the analogue era to the digital era, the World History Digital Education Foundation will lead at the K-12 level in the study of global history by:
Creating innovative digital resources in world history education such as story maps, multi-media curriculums, interactive websites, and virtual reality experiences.
Developing one-to-one technology capability programs for high needs schools lacking the financial capacity for digital educational technology and equipment.
Training social studies teachers in the use of technology and engaging them to write new curriculums and lesson plans.
Developing a collaborative online community of educators who will share best practices in social studies education.
Educating students on the use of digital resources for research and learning
About the Foundation Sponsor - Korea Foundation
The Korea Foundation was established in 1991 to promote awareness and understanding of Korea and to enhance goodwill and friendship among the international community through its cultural, academic and intellectual exchange activities and programs. Some of its major works include: providing support for Korean studies overseas, organizing/supporting international forums, assisting research institutions/think tanks around the world in their research, conferences and publications, and establishing Korean galleries in museums abroad. Currently, there are two branch offices in the United States: the Washington D.C. Office and the L.A. Office, which opened in 2005. Both offices serve as liaisons to the main headquarters in Korea and overseas and manages the foundation’s projects and programs in North/ South America and the Caribbean Islands.
2020 Korea Visit Program
Next year’s Korea visit program for social studies teachers will be announced by December 2019, which will invite 30 US and international teachers to the Republic of Korea for about 10 days. Please keep tuned on foundation’s announcement. For your inquiry, please email Bobbie Downs at firstname.lastname@example.org.