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CONTACT: STEPHEN PRADARELLI
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e-mail: stephen-pradarelli@uiowa.edu

Release: Jan. 14, 2003

EDITORS: To arrange an interview with the visitors, contact Laurie Croft at (319) 335-6148

Korean educators at UI to learn about gifted education

Teachers from Busan, Republic of Korea, are visiting the University of Iowa's Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development this month to learn more about educating academically gifted students.

The 20 elementary and secondary teachers of mathematics and science arrived Jan. 10 and are participating in presentations on such topics as understanding the social and emotional needs of gifted children, identifying gifted students, developing curriculum for gifted students and enhancing creativity. The science teachers will participate in a special seminar with Robert Yager, Ph.D., professor of science education in the College of Education's Curriculum and Instruction Department, while mathematics teachers will interact with Ed Zacarro, an Iowa teacher, curriculum specialist and author of Challenge Math. The visitors are also scheduled to observe gifted children in Iowa City classrooms, as well as visit the Des Moines Central Academy.

Planned side trips include a visit to the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, Ill., and Fermilab (Batavia, Ill.), as well as museums and shopping areas in the Chicago area.

"Busan has taken the lead in efforts to strengthen gifted education in the Republic of Korea," said Laurie Croft, Ph.D., the Belin-Blank Center's administrator for professional development and coordinator of the Busan Gifted Education Program. "These educators have already dedicated 120 contact hours to gifted education in Korea, several have master's degrees, and a few have earned their doctorates. They are enthusiastic and committed professionals who want to learn from the experiences of the staff at the Belin-Blank Center, and to apply best practices in gifted education to their programs in Busan."

This is the second visit to the Belin-Blank Center by Korean educators. In July 2002, 30 math, science and technology teachers from the Seoul Metropolitan area participated in a similar program.

Busan (formerly known in the Western world as Pusan) is in southeastern Korea and is the nation's second largest city with a population of 4 million. The maritime gateway to Korea for almost 500 years, Busan was opened to international shipping in early 20th century and is recognized as a center of economy, industry, sports, culture and tourism.