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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

english teaching robots

Korea Aims To Have Robot Teachers 

In Every Kindergarten By 2013

Robots have already replaced many of the world’s craftsmen, mechanics, factory workers, welders, and so on — so why not teachers? 
For an appraisal of this news:

Matt Salusbury: January 2013

Jan 31, 2013 - 
Rise of the Korean English-teaching robots?
Matt Salusbury reports on Korea's next generation of EFL educators 
Rough sketch of a Roti teaching robot, by the author

South Korea has set itself up as a global centre of excellence in robotics, with the government funding robot research. EFL teaching robots are now infiltrating the country's classrooms. 

As with most new education technology, finding appropriate ways to use the technology is more important than the hardware itself.

NEWS 1_ From Brian Merchant
 A science institute in South Korea has developed a robot teacher that works with young children to develop their foreign language skills.
Elementary school children in Korea in the cities of Masan and Daegu are among the first to be exposed to robotic teachers. Among them is a robotic English instructor named EngKey developed by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST).
EngKey can hold scripted conversations with students to help them improve their language skills, or a modified version can act as a telepresence tool to allow distant teachers to interact with children.
And this is just the beginning: Korea’s Ministry of Education is seeking to put an EngKey robot in every kindergarten by 2013.
To clarify, the robots don’t take over teaching duties from a real flesh and blood teacher — they’re merely there as a mechanized supplement. The robots follow an automated script, and aren’t nearly advanced enough to complete entire lesson plans. 
But researchers have found that students loosen up around the robot teachers, and allow themselves to flex their mental muscles a little more audaciously — they feel more comfortable making mistakes in front of the robots than teachers.

Like the free, crowd-sourced online courses of the Khan Academy, these robots are another intriguing supplemental education tool that technology has allowed us to experiment with. Though the idea of robot teachers replacing real ones probably — and rightfully — sends a shiver down your spine, thus far these robots can only be a boon to the education process. Until they malfunction and enslave our children, of course.
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