Introducing the Gojoseon WordPress Theme for Key To Korean

02.16-gojoseon-theme

I’ve been planning/considering a redesign of Key To Korean since last summer. I’d planned to do it over the winter and unveil everything on New Year’s Day 2015. But, that day came and went and I’d been too busy working full + part-time to put in any solid effort on the redesign. However, I’m pleased to announce that I think we’re FINALLY ready to get this website overhauled and improved for the next few years!~ (Happy LUNAR New Year’s Day, everybody!)

Announcing: GOJOSEON

In my off time, I develop WordPress themes and plugins. Gojoseon will be my third foray into theme development and the first one I’ll release publicly on WordPress.org (I will be submitting it for review before the Seollal holiday). It’s also the first theme I’ve developed that is FULLY responsive (i.e. it adjusts itself to fit properly on every screen size – so it looks good on your 27″ iMac, or you 4″ Android phone).

A Theme inspired by Mugwort and Garlic

This is the tagline for this theme. Anyone who’s studied a bit about Korean history can probably guess the reference:

In ancient times, Hwanung (son of Hwanin, “Lord of Heaven”) came down to earth with 3,000 followers. A bear and a tiger prayed to Hwanung that they might become human, so he handed them 20 cloves of garlic and a bundle of mugwort and sent them into a cave together for the next 100 days. They were to eat ONLY the garlic and mugwort and stay out of the sunlight for the entire period. The tiger, unfortunately, gave up after only 20 days, but the bear stuck with it and at the end of the 100 days, became a beautiful woman. Eventually, Hwanung took her as his wife and she gave birth to a son: Dangun, who founded Korea as an empire in 2333 B.C.

The legend of Dangun, paraphrased

The Design

  • Colors:
    • Green (mugwort): #169A70
    • Gold (garlic): #CD7F32
  • Fonts:
    • Titles: Roboto Slab (serif)
    • Body: Roboto (sans-serif)

One of the special features here is that you also have the option to choose your own Google Font from a list of about 20. I’ve also included a list of 8 NEW Korean fonts on Google’s “Early Access” list.

Special Features

There are a total of 5 menus and two sidebars:

  • Menus:
    • Quick menu (in the black bar on the left)
    • Primary menu (the grey sidebar on the left)
    • Social menu (at the bottom of the black bar on the left)
    • Header menu (upper-right corner – over the sidebar)
    • Footer menu (after all the content)
  • Sidebars:
    • Primary sidebar – position can be changed to ‘right’, ‘left’, or ‘none’
    • Footer sidebar/widgets

About the Quick Menu:

The main reason for the Quick Menu design is that I found last year as I was preparing for my TOPIK test that I really wanted a quick and easy way to access ANY grammar point from ANY place on our website. The Quick Menu was the solution I came up with.

I will build out individual menus containing EACH grammar point for ALL of the Korean Grammar In Use books. If you click on the appropriate level button, you will be able to see a pop-up menu with lists of the grammar points. This should make it much easier and faster to navigate the grammar points in our site (it’ll also give me more motivation to continually update those). Any grammar points that do not have a post yet will be dimmed and not linked until I create the pages for them and link them.

About the Primary Menu:

The Primary Menu scrolls with the page until it comes to the end and then “sticks” to the bottom of the page. This is a unique design practice that I found included in the WordPress TwentyFifteen theme’s sidebar and I wanted to include here. Also, at screen sizes smaller than 640px, the Primary Menu becomes a hidden “off-canvas” menu to give you more screen space for reading the posts.

About the Social Menu:

The social menu is a unique way for you to add links to your social networking sites. It was pioneered by a WordPress developer named Justin Tadlock, and since then, many developers have begun including it in their themes. The basic idea is this, you enter links to your social networking services in the Menu, and the underlying computer code detects the links you’ve entered and replaces the text with icon font logos for the appropriate social services.

“Top” Button: 

After scrolling a certain ways down the page, a “Top” button appears underneath the Social Menu that, when clicked, will quickly transport the reader back to the top of the page.

Featured Posts are “Stickies”

As you can see in the main image for this post, I’ve included a slider for any posts marked as “stickies.” This makes it easy to create and bring focus to any number of Featured posts.


While there are a number of other features and cool little things I’ve included in this theme (namely options in the Theme Customizer), I think this is a good introduction to it (especially for people who might not be familiar with nor care too much about the theme’s development).

Anyway, please take a look at the design and let me know what you think. I was inspired to this design by GavickPro’s Magazine theme initially, though this one is much different.

Also, over the next few days/weeks, I’ll be uploading this theme TO v2012.keytokorean.com and making adjustments to it on the back end so that at launch, everything should transition SMOOTHLY.

Gojoseon Launch Date: March 2, 2015

I’ll also be rolling out a rebrand of our logo as well as some other things like my wife’s new business cards and possibly some PDFs at that time.

*Whew* I put in 35 days of coding on this theme. It’s far from perfect but please let me know what you think in the comments below. And definitely let me know how it functions after it goes live on March 2. I’ll make THIS post a “Featured Post” at that time.

Oh, and one final note:

This theme will EVENTUALLY be free to download and use on your own sites after getting approval from WordPress.org to host it in their directory. I’ll let you know at that time. AND, I’ll make this theme the default theme for any of our PREMIUM members who wish to create their own blog on our site at http://yourname.v2012.keytokorean.com (upcoming feature). You can always change the theme if you choose, but this will be the default theme.

What’s In, What’s Out 2015

Well, it’s about mid-way through the first month of the New Year, 2015, and life is busier than ever for me. I’m currently working on designing, developing, and rolling out an entirely NEW brand identity for Key To Korean (K2K) (and I’m hoping to have it all up and running before I get back to full-time English teaching in March).

Therefore, I thought it would be nice to give you a little preview of what’s in store for the upcoming year with K2K with the second edition of our “What’s In, What’s Out” annual posts. You can check out the first edition 2014’s post here. And just like last year, I’m going to highlight THREE things I hope to accomplish, get ready, or see done this year.


#1 In: A Genuine Community

Out: Subscribers and “Likers”

Since this blog has grown from about 30 views per month to nearly 30,000 views per month since its creation in September 2012, we’ve also begun to grow a small community of followers. And as much as we appreciate all the views, and the Shares, and the Likes, I feel that we have a much bigger opportunity here to grow into something much more dynamic.

People “Like” and “Share” things that are “cool” or “unique” or fill a need that they have. Fortunately for us, we’ve got a little bit of all of that on our site. But people PARTICIPATE in something that helps them personally grow or develop or change their own lives. K2K doesn’t want to be just another “cool” Korean learning website with nice vocabulary PDFs. We want to grow into a true Community of like-minded individuals who want to better their lives by learning Korean and help others along that same path. 

Therefore, in the upcoming year, we intend to start systematically rolling out the following website upgrades to better foster a K2K Community:

  1. K2K Support Forums – ask and answer questions about grammar, motivation tips, tests like TOPIK, or Korean classes like KIIP
  2. K2K Network – a Facebook-style network where you can meet and connect with other Korean learners from around the world
  3. Individual, personalized Korean learning blogs – this will be a Premium feature, allowing paying members to create their own blog at http://yourname.v2012.keytokorean.com – we want to encourage our members to use our platform to share their own Korean learning tips, experiences, and diaries

#2 In: Contests and Giveaways

Out: Static Content Updates

I’ve recently been contacted by www.tuttlepublishing.com to host a series of Korean Language Book Giveaways exclusively on our website!~ We’re hoping to do this MORE THAN ONCE and hoping that these kinds of giveaways and contests will encourage our readers and followers to get more involved in the K2K Community as well as opening more doors for arrangements with other publishers and Korean language learning companies and websites.

Stay tuned for more details in the upcoming weeks as we nail down the specifics! Please spread the word to your friends as well so that they may also get a chance to win a FREE book from Tuttle Publishing!~

So far we’re looking into doing at least THREE contests with Tuttle:

  1. Korean Language books
  2. Books about Korean culture (like K-Pop and Technology)
  3. Books about Korean History

Be sure to SUBSCRIBE to our blog over in the sidebar if you haven’t already so that you can get all the updates about our Giveaways and Contests in 2015.

And this brings me to our final highlight:


#3 In: Official K2K Products

Out: Remaining “just another blog”

Last year, I worked hard on self-publishing our first eBook: The 40-Day Korean Speaking Challenge, but I was unable to finish. This year, we’re hoping to be able to not only publish that eBook officially, but also roll out some supplementary materials to support our current collection of Vocabulary and Grammar PDFs. Then, not only will we run giveaways with Tuttle Publishing, we’ll also be giving away some of our own Premium content and features in our contests.

Below, you can find a list of some of the resources we are hoping to create in 2015:

  1. Udemy Course for Beginner Korean Grammar
  2. Udemy Course for Language Learning Motivation and Tips
  3. The 40-Day Korean Speaking Challenge eBook
  4. K2K Beginner Korean Vocabulary Workbook
  5. K2K Beginner Korean Grammar Workbook

But, as you know, the creation of a quality website like this and the materials we hope to create takes a lot of TIME. And that’s Time that’s hard to come by as I’m:

family

  1. A father to two kids under 5
  2. Working a full-time job + a part-time job + freelance web-designing to help make ends meet
  3. Volunteering at church on the weekends
  4. My wife is teaching Korean part-time
  5. And she’s going to be starting grad school full-time from March

So, if you’re excited about what we have planned for 2015 and if you want to help support our efforts at making these things happen, consider donating what you can to our PayPal account in the sidebar.


What do you think about our plans for 2015? Anything you’re most excited about or want to recommend we include in our plans? Let us know in the Comments below!~

Using Korean Google Fonts (10 New Korean Fonts to Try Out on Your Website)

Wow! now this is an exciting development! (Thanks to Korean Vitamin for the link.)

As a web developer myself, I’ve often been fascinated by the sheer amount of Google Fonts that are freely available to import and use on websites all over the world (over 44,000 items!). BUT, as a web developer living in Korea, I’ve also wondered just how long it might be before something as cool as Google Fonts took hold HERE and we were able to beautify our sites with better Hangul fonts.

Well, fortunately, the wait is (unofficially) over as Google now provides 10 NEW Hangul Fonts in its Early Access Fonts area.

There are numerous fonts included in Early Access including Hebrew, Thai, Lao, Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Tamil, Myanmar, Armenian, Cherokee, Chinese, and Japanese among others (for a full list of the new font languages, see below). But the exciting ones are the 10 new Hangul fonts!

You can take a look at what each of these Korean fonts looks like IN THE BROWSER below (the font descriptions are copied from Google’s Early Access page):

1. Hanna

키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다.

Woowa Brothers, a company dedicated to contributing to the world’s graceful progress by utilizing information technology, has created the ‘Hanna’ font for everyone to use. Hanna reflects Woowa Brothers’ kitsch and retro identity; it is reminiscent of our childhood memories of trying to draw something really nice, yet our drawing turns out to be a little rough and half-baked. Hanna is just like that kid’s drawing, and will bring you back to the time when you were little. Enjoy and share!


2. Jeju Gothic

키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다.

Jeju Gothic is simple and modern design. It feels young and fresh like Jeju Island’s purity.


3. Jeju Hallasan

키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다.

Jeju Hallasan was designed to represent the beauty of Jeju Island, the UNESCO world natural heritage site. It shows Jeju’s special geographic characteristics, basaltic rocks and volcanic islands.


4. Jeju Myeongjo (serif)

키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다.

Jeju Myungjo was designed to have a modern look and improved legibility through simplified shapes and a bigger optical size. It is a polished serif type, to represent Jeju Island’s bright future.


5. KoPub Batang (serif)

키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다.

KoPub Batang is a serif unicode font designed by Fontrix, with sponsorship from Korea’s government (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism) and published by the Korea Publishers Society. It supports 11,172 Hangul glyphs, 94 English glyphs, 986 KS symbols and 4,888 Chinese glyphs. It is intended for reading at text sizes, and it has good legibility: It has passed many legibility tests and has been positively reviewed by publication professionals. Its serifs are restrained and smooth, and it has excellent kerning and other refinements.


The Nanum fonts below (Korean : 나눔글꼴) are unicode fonts designed especially for the Korean-language script, designed by Sandoll Communications (Korean : 산돌 커뮤니케이션) and Fontrix (Korean : 폰트릭스). The publisher is Naver.


6. Nanum Brush Script

키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다.

Nanum Brush Script is a contemporary brush script with a warm touch and is expertly hinted for screen use.


7. Nanum Gothic

키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다.

Nanum Gothic is a contemporary sans-serif with a warm touch and is expertly hinted for screen use.


8. Nanum Gothic Coding

키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다.

Nanum Gothic Coding is a contemporary monospaced sans-serif with a warm touch and is expertly hinted for screen use.


9. Nanum Myeongjo

키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다.

Nanum Gothic is a contemporary sans-serif with a warm touch and is expertly hinted for screen use.


10. Nanum Pen Script

키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다.

Nanum Pen Script is a contemporary pen script with a warm touch and is expertly hinted for screen use.


What’s up with the “Kiss”?

If you notice the phrase I’ve used above in all the examples, it is a Korean pangram. What is a pangram? The following is a quote from a resurrected Wikipedia page (apparently it was deleted by Wikipedians who thought, “It is mostly comprised of nonsense phrases…”):

Pangrams are words or sentences containing every letter of the alphabet at least once; the best known English example being “A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

The Korean pangram used above is:

키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다.
The essential condition for a kiss is that lips meet and there is no special technique required.

So, what makes this a Korean pangram?

In current usage, Hangul has 14 simple consonant letters, 6 simple vowel letters, and 4 iotized vowel letters; there are also 5 double consonant letters, 11 consonant clusters, and 11 diphthongs, made from combinations of the simple consonants or simple vowels. Of these, the above phrase contains all the simple consonant letters, simple vowel letters, and iotized vowel letters, along with 1 double consonant letter (ㄲ “gg”), 1 consonant cluster (ㄶ “nh”), and one diphthong (ㅢ “ui”).

But besides that, I’m filled with such JOY at finding Korean webfonts that WORK like this, a “kiss” is almost an appropriate gesture in response.


Which one is your favorite Korean font?

Let us know in the Comments below. I personally think “Jeju Hallasan” is a unique font that looks a bit like volcanic rocks. Here’s another look at all the fonts again:

Hanna: 키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Jeju Gothic: 키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Jeju Hallasan: 키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Jeju Myeongjo: 키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

KoPub Batang: 키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Nanum Brush Script: 키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Nanum Gothic: 키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Nanum Gothic Coding: 키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Nanum Myeongjo: 키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Nanum Pen Script: 키스의 고유조건은 입술끼리 만나야 하고 특별한 기술은 필요치 않다. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Click this link to view the fonts as an image if your browser has trouble rendering them for some reason.

Click this link to go to Google’s Early Access Fonts where you can also DOWNLOAD the fonts to use on your computer.

Website Updates and Downtime

I started performing some website updates today and in my effort to speed things up and remove some of the clutter, I’m now getting some 404 errors on old posts.

This is actually a GOOD THING because the brokenness now will help me fix things up and make everything run much faster and more smoothly in the future.

Please BE PATIENT as we work out the kinks in this latest update. Remember, we’ve got BIG THINGS coming (initiatives to bolster a bigger and better “Community” on the site) in 2015. So, while there may be some bumps in the road along the way, ultimately, this will be for the long-term benefit of the site and its users.

Thanks!~

Aaron

Let’s Learn About the Gojoseon Dynasty

Let’s Learn About the Gojoseon Dynasty – TOGETHER!

I’m doing a small research project on Gojoseon (고조선). I’m particularly interested in:

Symbols, patterns, art, designs, icons, iconic imagery from that period.

I already know about Dangun, the tiger + bear, 비파형동검, dolmen, and the Bronze Age.

I’m looking for links to the most famous or iconic imagery from that time, as well as keywords to describe it. i.e. Korean friends, if you could describe in ONE adjective (형용사) or phrase what you remember or think about when you think of 고조선, what would it be?

Example: I asked some students about the Three Kingdoms and got these adjectives:

  1. Silla (international)
  2. Baekje (art + culture)
  3. Goryeo (power)

Share your info here

As I gather information about Gojoseon, I’ll share the info I discover HERE and write at least one (or possibly a series) of blog posts about the topic. Consider this the FIRST in a lineup of “small research projects” going over all the dynasties of Korea.

Note: History is easy to READ. It’s much harder to VISUALIZE. That’s why I hope to FOCUS on the symbols, patterns, art, designs, icons, and iconic imagery of that period.

Please leave me a comment below with any and all information you think is relevant to the topic. Thanks a bunch!~

How I’m Studying Korean for FREE from Korea University (and You Can Too!)

**The following is a complete write-up of the information in the Slideshare above and includes some TIPS at the end.

Quick Registration Tip

One of my friends recommended trying in IE7 or lower and making sure that all of your popup blockers are disabled. It may be a typical Korean site, optimized for lower versions of IE, and the “RESEND CONFIRMATION EMAIL” link will be in a popup after you register.

“Quick Korean”

The program is called “Quick Korean” and is offered by the Cyber University of Korea (a subsidiary of Korea University – one of the top universities in the country). Actually, when we launched Key to Korean in 2012, this is exactly the kind of thing that I had in mind to put together.

Why is this Awesome?

  1. It’s a full range of Korean classes that take you from learning Hangul to acquiring TOPIK 3.5*
  2. It’s entirely online, accessible with any Internet-capable device, and available all over the world
  3. There is a rich collection of class contents and resources that target all Learning Styles and interests
  4. It’s completely FREE!~

All about the Program

The Cyber University of Korea (고려사이버대학교) is a subsidiary university of Korea University (고려대학교) and is a member of the same Educational Foundation as Korea University (고려중앙학원). It’s quite obvious the two are connected as they share the same logo, colors, and branding. The Cyber University was also founded by김병관, the grandson of Korea University founder 김성수, nearly 100 years after the founding of Korea University.

The Cyber University of Korea was the first accredited online university in Korea and remains a leader in online education (this becomes obvious when you take a look at their course materials).

“Quick Korean” (and the “e-Learning for Multicultural Families” course that preceded it) have also received backing from some major companies including:

  1. POSCO (2007)
  2. Goldman Sachs (2007)
  3. Google (2014)
  4. Naver (2014)
  5. The Dong-A Ilbo (of which CUK’s founder was Honorary Chairman at the time of CUK’s founding)
  6. Channel A (the Dong-A Ilbo’s TV channel)
  7. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (certifies the degrees for Korean language teaching)

History of “e-Learning for Multicultural Families”

With the founding of the university in 2001, online foreign language education also began. By 2007, the “e-Learning Campaign for Multicultural Families” was developed and received backing from both POSCO and Goldman Sachs. The program was specifically targeted to foreign brides in Korea and was initially thought to only be available in the provinces where POSCO operates (Jeollanam-do and Gyeonsangbuk-do) but was later rolled out to the entire country.

Language instruction included 7 levels, from beginner to advanced, and 7 languages including: Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, English, Mongolian, and Thai.

History of “Quick Korean”

In 2012, CUK began offering a Bachelor’s degree for Korean language teaching (2nd level) that is certified by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Following this, and a trip to Vietnam by the school’s President where he learned of the opening of a new Samsung factory with thousands of workers in need of “quick Korean” language education. It was at this point that the school began its push for a complete “Quick Korean” program.

The launch dates for the different levels of “Quick Korean” are as follows:

  1. December 4, 2013: Level 1 in Korean, English, Chinese (later Japanese, and from October 22, 2014 recording in SPANISH is also underway)
  2. January 20, 2014: Level 2 in Korean, English, Chinese
  3. April 28, 2014: Level 3 in Korean
  4. August 25, 2014: Level 4 in Korean

The 4 levels in the “Quick Korean” course that cover grammar points up to TOPIK Level 4 and vocabulary up to TOPIK Level 3.

Although the course is officially “complete” at this time, it remains in constant development. Supplementary class materials like PDFs, audio downloads, and workbooks available for purchase from major online retailers are still being developed, and new language support is continually being added. From October 22, 2014 (little over a month ago), the first Spanish instructional videos have begun being recorded.

Impressive Numbers

Since the start of the “e-Learning Campaign” in 2007, the Cyber University of Korea has pushed through some impressive numbers of students. Equally impressive is the team of professors and scholars who are currently involved in the development of “Quick Korean.”

  1. 110,693 people have gone through CUK’s online Korean education since 2007
  2. This includes people from 71 countries
  3. and 705 cities around the world
  4. Each week there are between 50-100 new site registrations

The team of scholars includes professors from:

  1. The Cyber University of Korea
  2. Yonsei University
  3. Sogang University
  4. KyungHee University
  5. The Korea Association for Foreign Language Education (KAFLE)
  6. The Korea Grammar Education Circle
  7. The Applied Linguistics Association of Korea (ALAK)

And they are led by Professor Kishim Nam who is the former Director of The National Institute of the Korean Language.

Social Media

In addition to the online class itself, “Quick Korean” also has dedicated social media channels you can follow including:

  1. A YouTube channel (support by Google – agreement signed May 8, 2014)
  2. A Naver TVcast channel (support by Naver – agreement signed May 9, 2014)
  3. A Youku (Chinese YouTube) channel
  4. Facebook
  5. Twitter
  6. Google Plus

Breakdown of the Levels

Each of the lessons in “Quick Korean” follows a similar structure with 10 parts:

  1. An overview of the lesson objective
  2. A conversation
  3. New vocabulary
  4. The text
  5. A grammar lesson
  6. Speaking practice
  7. Listening practice
  8. Extra vocabulary
  9. A Culture section (teaching about various aspects of Korean culture)
  10. A lesson summary

For me, the Culture section is quite interesting as it reminds me of the 사회통합프로그램 (KIIP) that I participated in earlier this year. When Culture sections are included, it is apparent that programs like these want learners to achieve success not only in the language, but also in the finer aspects of integrating with the culture.

Levels are broken down like so:

  1. Level 1: 30 lessons (15 chapters in 2 parts) with 696 minutes of instruction (11.6 hours) in Korean, English, Chinese, and Japanese
  2. Level 2: 30 lessons (15 chapters in 2 parts) with 773 minutes of instruction (12.9 hours) with Korean video and downloads in English as well (site in Chinese also)
  3. Level 3: 20 lessons with 585 minutes of instruction (9.75 hours) with Korean video
  4. Level 4: 13 lessons with 463 minutes of instruction (7.7 hours) with Korean video

All of this is current as of November 23, 2014. All told there are 93 lessons with 2,517 minutes of instruction (42 hours!).

  1. Level 1 seeks to teach learners the fundamentals of social interaction and daily activities
  2. Level 2 teaches expressing preferences, opinions, and location-based conversations
  3. Level 3 teaches topics of casual conversation such as work, family, and hobbies
  4. Level 4 teaches free and fluent speech and asserts that you’ll be able to give a public speech at the end of the course

The Process

Simply, the process to take this class is to:

  1. Go to the CUK “Quick Korean” website
  2. Register
  3. Login
  4. Watch the course videos one-by-one
  5. Take the online test
  6. Receive (and print if you wish) your certificate of completion

Tips for the Course

Can I skip right to the Level Tests?

Now, for anyone like me who has already passed TOPIK Level 2 and doesn’t need to run through the Level 1 course again, you CANNOT skip the videos and go straight to the test. You WILL have to click each video although you won’t have to watch them. So long as you click, it will be marked “Completed” and you can move on to the next one.

However, the Culture parts of each lesson are at least worth a watch. You may already be familiar with all of the culture introduced, but that section is short and it’s a good refresher.

The teacher speaks too slowly… I’m bored.

If you watch the videos in your native language (Level 1), you may find the instructor speaking slowly and clearly (and it may be boring). In order to deal with this problem and keep your focus and interest in the lesson, you have one of two choices:

  1. Watch the video entirely in KOREAN (it’s better for your practice anyway)
  2. Click the YouTube “Settings” gear wheel icon in the bottom-right of the player and INCREASE THE SPEED of the video to 1.5 or 2 times.

(The second tip is something I’ve learned to do when listening to audiobooks as well – it really helps keep me interested. You’ll notice that the speed of reading aloud or teaching is slightly slower than a typical natural conversation, so if you increase the speed of the instruction to a more conversational pace, you’ll be able to stay focused more easily.)

Getting a BA in Korean Language Teaching

Lastly, if you are interested in getting a Bachelor’s degree in Korean Language Teaching from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, you’ll need to apply to CUK as a regular student and enroll in their Korean Language Teaching program. Relevant links are below:

  1. Dept. of Korean Language (ENG)
  2. Dept. of Korean Language (KO) – more extensive and includes a video
  3. How to Apply (ENG)

Additional Resources

The following resources are freely available on the CUK’s website in the “Forums -> Notice & News” section, although they might not be easy to find without clicking every link. Therefore, I’ve included them here for your convenience:

  1. How to Use Quick Korean (PDF) – How to register for, login, take the class, and the tests
  2. Quick Korean Brochure (PDF) – Includes all the information in this post and PPT
  3. CUK – Quick Korean (PPT) – My PPT from above (you may need the Oswald font and the La Belle Aurore font for it to display properly)
  4. CUK – Quick Korean (PDF) – PDF of the same PPT, doesn’t require font installation

Arirang’s Special Report on “Quick Korean” from 2013:

Are you excited to learn Korean again?

So, 2015 is coming up! Whether or not you’ve been very consistent in 2014 with studying Korean, perhaps you’re more excited than ever to get back at it with this new FREE online course. I know I sure am. Let me know in the Comments if and when you plan to start learning with “Quick Korean.”

What to Expect After Acceptance in a KIIP Online Class

  • At the beginning of 2014, I heard about KIIP (사회통합프로그램).
  • In the first quarter (around March), I took the KIIP Pre-test and was placed in Level 4.
  • After not being able to take the online class in the first half of the year due to time restrictions, I was finally able to get into (and complete) the 100-hour course for KIIP Level 4.

Here are the details about what to expect immediately after joining an online class:

1. Why Online? Won’t you consider Offline?

After registering in an online class, you will be contacted within a few days by someone in the Seoul program office. They will likely ask you why you have selected to do the online class and not the on-site class. This is particularly true if they can tell by your user registration information that there is an available class center near you. (For example, I live in Jeonju, and Woosuk University is on the outskirts of Jeonju. They initially tried to get me to switch to the Woosuk University class.)

Tell them that the times don’t match up with your schedule (especially given travel time to and from the location), and it should be fine. They won’t press the matter further.

2. Proof of Employment

After questioning me about the class time, the program representative then told me that they’d need a copy of my employment record at Jeonju University to prove where I worked. I had to fax them my 재직증명서 before I was “officially” in.

(I’m not sure if they require proof of employment from EVERYBODY. Obviously not everybody can get that document from their workplace, and some stay-at-home moms are unemployed. But I’d expect them to request SOME kind of document either from you or from your spouse or employer to prove who you are, where you live/work, and that you qualify for the program.)

3. Install the KIIP Computer Program

http://www.kiipedu.com After faxing the document, you’ll need to download the classroom program from the site with a user ID and password they assign you (via email I believe). The site is kiipedu.com. From there, download the program for the class (the right-most link in the top menu – it’s an .exe so only good for Windows).

kiip-program-install

KIIP Program Download and Install

4. Test your equipment

The TWO pieces of equipment you’ll need for the online class are:

  1. A mic / headset (I highly recommend a USB headset)
  2. A USB camera

After installing the program, you’ll need to log in on the Thursday or Friday before your class “officially” starts in order to test your mic, headphones, and camera to be sure you CAN do the class. As long as both of those work, it’s just a 5 minute “hi” to someone who probably won’t even be your teacher.

5. Show up for class

After that, on the first day of class, the teacher will introduce the class and tell you that the book should be on its way. (Someone from your local Immigration Office should have already called you and asked to which address you want the book sent.)

I received my book in the middle of the second week of class, but don’t worry. The entire book (all the books) are available online as ebooks at kiipedu.com and you can access them at any time. The teacher will open the digital book in the class program (probably for every class) to show you the text, circle things, highlight things, or draw and write things on it with their digital pen tool.

Any more questions?

Let me know in the comments below.

Learning With Texts Dictionary Update

FYI: For anyone having trouble with Naver dictionary no longer loading properly in LWT (Learning With Texts):

I’ve discovered that the original Naver dictionary link I used isn’t working properly right now:

http://endic.naver.com/search.nhn?sLn=kr&isOnlyViewEE=N&query=###

(Note, the portion in red wasn’t in my original link – I found that added in Naver today when I checked.)

Therefore, I’ve switched my dictionary over to Daum dictionary and I already like it better. Daum dictionary loads what looks like a mobile version of their website, so it makes for much better reading:

http://dic.daum.net/word/view_example.do?wordid=ekw000155863&q=###

Daum dictionary as loaded in LWT

Daum dictionary as loaded in LWT

Apologies for our Contact Form ERROR

Admin note:

Wow guys! I thought we weren’t very popular because I haven’t been getting ANY mail in my inbox from this site for 3-4 months now! Turns out there’s just something wrong with this Contact form! ㅠㅠ  So sorry about that.

But I was smart enough to install a plugin catches all your messages and stores them in a database for me. So I have just FOUND all your messages.

If you’ve contacted us within recent months, please be assured that I will reply to you personally (with my apologies). But for now, if you have any more comments or questions, please direct them to:

admin (at) keytokorean (dot) com

Again, apologies for the error. I’ll get this fixed as soon as possible.

Happy Birthday! Key To Korean is 2~

Key To Korean : Happy Birthday Year ONE

Although it’s been about 2 months since I posted ANYTHING on the Key To Korean site, that doesn’t mean I’ve been slacking off. My summer was quite busy as you can see from my list below:

TOP TEN Summer Activities

  1. Worked 4 summer camps
  2. Built 2 websites with an Extensive Reading (Learning With Texts) program like our website has
  3. Reviewed/edited a 200+ page book for publication (twice)
  4. Completed a 100-hour online Korean course (and accompanying 200+ page textbook) – this was the 사회통합프로그램 and is FREE to all foreigners residing in Korea
  5. Coded a new WordPress Theme (that needs touch-ups)
  6. Completed 3-4 Lynda.com video courses
  7. Took 2 summer trips:
    1. Buan: a family retreat to the beach with some friends from church
    2. Seoul: to the US Embassy to start registering my daughter as a US citizen
  8. Went to a family reunion with my in-laws
    1. Also, harvested 1 metric ton of onions with them
    2. And 1 metric ton of potatoes (that I loaded onto the truck for them)
  9. Took the 35th TOPIK test (and didn’t pass ㅠㅠ) – more on this in an upcoming blog post
  10. Began the process of getting my workspaces (at home, the office, online, and in my head) organized (trying to do the Getting Things Done method)

Last Year (2013) vs. This Year (2014)

And since August 27th is “officially” Key To Korean’s birthday (we’re turning 2 this year!^^), I thought it would be interesting to see how things have changed over the past year. So, below, you can see a table with stats from 2013 and from 2014 to compare:

 20132014
Number of on-site students~40~10
TOPIK prep7 students / 3 passed2 students / 1 dropped
Facebook Likes142642
Blog Subscriptions27 blog / 4 comments123 blog / 7 comments
Tumblr Subscriptions0237
Leads084
Daily Website Views (Average)288951
Daily Views (High)699 (Aug 21, 2013)1,780 (Apr 12, 2014)
Monthly Views (High)8,569 (Aug 2013)25,200 (July 2014)
Total View (Lifetime)22,486218,614
Total Comments<50331

And just for fun, here’s a look at the graph that shows our growth stats since the creation of this site back in August 2012:

08.26.stats

Reasons for the Changes

As you can see, the number of students we taught in person in physical locations within the city has decreased dramatically. That is primarily due to the fact that our daughter, Jenna, was born last November 18, 2013. My wife has taken a good part of the last year off to focus on raising the baby. She’s only gone out to work when I’ve been home to watch Jenna.

8.27.jenna

Facebook Likes have increased by 500 and we started gaining quite a following on Tumblr. This is mostly due to the visual nature and Sharing aspects of Tumblr. I started publishing daily Expressions on Tumblr (using their Scheduler) and as people started “stumbling upon” and discovering the Korean Expressions, they Shared them. This helped to increase traffic to all aspects of our website and helped increase the number of Facebook Likes dramatically as well.

Additionally, I became a Korea.net Worldwide Korea Blogger, and though I’ve not posted a lot thus far (due to my excessively busy summer schedule), I’m looking forward to getting more content online there. That is a HUGE community of people and great exposure for this site. After writing just a few articles, I noticed a slight “bump” in our traffic.

Last Year’s GOALS vs. This Year’s GOALS

2013 TOP TEN Goals

  1. Start a monthly Language Cast type event at a local cafe : PARTIAL SUCCESS – this has now morphed into a weekly meet up though I personally don’t oversee it
  2. Launch Learning With Texts on our site : SUCCESS – I’ve personally studied 22 TTMIK Iyagi texts on it since the launch. Additionally, it was due to this experience that I was able to launch 2 MORE websites with this service on it. I’ve got some ideas for customization of LWT in the future (since it’s open source software) so stay tuned!
  3. Daughter : SUCCESS – born November 18, 2013, Jenna Grace Snowberger (국제나 in the Korean registers)
  4. Mobile web app : ON HOLD – I’m still interested in this, but working on other projects at the moment. I need to LEARN mobile development yet in order to make this a reality. Right now, I’m focusing on WordPress development
  5. Update the home page : PARTIAL SUCCESS – I updated some of the home page widgets and the introductory text, but that’s all
  6. Send Sarah “back to school” : ON HOLD – My wife is still interested in getting her “Teaching Korean to Foreigners” certificate, but other things in life (like a daughter) have taken priority at the moment
  7. Weekly Videos of myself practicing/speaking Korean : BACK BURNER – This is something I’d like to revisit this year. I’m still interested in doing this, but haven’t organized everything like I want yet. Still, it may be better to just START
  8. Make Grammar videos : MODIFIED SUCCESS – I started posting (as regular as humanly possible) grammar lessons and sentences using each grammar point for the Intermediate class. I’ll continue that in the upcoming year, add the Beginning and Low Intermediate books’ grammar, and get started on High Intermediate as well (depending on how far I personally can study)
  9. Hangul-based Designs : ON HOLD – I want to focus on other things at the moment. I have created ONE hangul-based design for my father-in-law’s chokeberry farm, but rather than try to make this a habit, I’ve decided to just wait until opportunities present themselves – as the one for my father-in-law did
    08.27.chokeberry
  10. Create lessons/tutorials in web/graphic design in Korean : MODIFIED PARTIAL SUCCESS – this has only been a recent development – and mostly in the context of my day job – but I’ve started preparing some tutorials on my personal (needs updated) website (in English)

2014 TOP TEN Goals

  1. Completely REBRAND the site by the New Year (including logo and website Theme)
  2. Launch our first eBook in various packages (including extras and audiobook)
  3. Launch a SECOND eBook (I know, I know, get the first one done first – I’m working on it, but already have a second one in the works too)
  4. Make the site “self-sustaining” (i.e. at least profitable enough to pay for its own hosting so I don’t have to pay out of pocket every year)
  5. Finish posting Expressions from “How Koreans Talk”
  6. Finish posting Grammar & sentences from “Korean Grammar in Use: Beginning & Intermediate
  7. Weekly Videos of myself practicing/speaking Korean
  8. Create the MOST comprehensive walkthrough of the KIIP (사회통합프로그램) Program
  9. Create a NEW Series of Posts on Accelerated Learning – and particularly focus on Vocabulary
  10. Start a Podcast

And as for my PERSONAL Korean learning goals:

  1. Finish Korean Grammar in Use: Intermediate
  2. Finish TOPIK 150 Intermediate Grammar
  3. Retake (and ACE) the TOPIK Level 3 by the New Year – Level 4 by the next New Year
  4. Complete the ENTIRE 141 set series of TTMIK Iyagi in our LWT installation
  5. Give a SPEECH in Korean

How about you?

What do you think of these new Goals for Year 3 of K2K (Key to Korean)? Anything else you’d like to see us do? What are your PERSONAL Korean learning goals for the rest of this year and the beginning of next year?

Let us know in the Comments below.

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