Robot Teachers Roll Into South Korean Classrooms

By Meera Dolasia on January 13, 2011

Word Search

A number of fortunate students at 21 elementary schools in the Southeast city of Daegu, South Korea are testing out a new kind of educator - A robot teacher. The 29 droids that have been deployed for a five-month trial, are the brainchild of The Korean Institute of Technology, which is trying to promote the integration of robots into people's daily lives.

Designed to teach English, the egg-shaped robots have been pre-programmed to read books, sing songs and play alphabet games. Just like human teachers, they can also roam around the class on their wheels, and even dance to music by moving their arms and heads.

While they appear to be completely autonomous, the robots are controlled by human educators from the Philippines, who can hear and see the children's reactions via a remote controlled device. The children can also observe the teacher's expressions, which are reflected on the avatar that is pasted onto the flat panel television atop the robot's neck.

The $1.4mm USD pilot program has been sponsored by the government to test if children respond better to robots than humans. Also, the cost of hiring English teachers remotely is far lower than bringing them into the country. They also believe that if the robots prove to be reliable and effective, they can be sent to remote regions, where the teachers are reluctant to go. An added benefit is that robots don't get sick, ask for vacations or pay or up and away for a better paying gig! A little maintenance and oil every now and again and, they are good to go. However, the officials do maintain that these robots will be assisting human teachers, not replacing them, anytime in the near future.

While the initial trials are going really well, there are still some hurdles that need to be overcome before the rolling eggheads show up all across South Korea. They still require a lot of handling and at a cost of about $8,000USD each, are a little too steep for mass deployment. If these relatively minor problems can be overcome, robot teachers will become a common sight across all schools in South Korea and maybe, other parts of the world too!


Listen to the Article: Play Audio

Create MLA, Chicago, or APA Website Citation

Create a website citation for this article. We support MLA8, MLA7, APA, and Chicago citation formats.

VocabularyPlay Game

to use your custom avatar.
  • HersheySunday, January 16, 2011 at 5:00 am
    I would like to have a teacher like that!!!!!!
    • Smile for me PleaseSaturday, January 15, 2011 at 5:44 pm
      why isnt this in america china just has to have everthing dont they
      • hghSaturday, January 15, 2011 at 4:47 pm
        my grandpa lives there
        • hghSaturday, January 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm
          • hghSaturday, January 15, 2011 at 4:44 pm
            how do you ask questions?? what if a student turns her off??
            • coolioSaturday, January 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm
              good work
              • julietSaturday, January 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm
                ya right. totaly fake
                • Alpha4Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 11:34 am
                  how would the robot teacher check homework
                  • Coolbeans2Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 9:47 am
                    What if the robot got stuck on some rough flooring or ran into the wall?
                    • spikball ;DSaturday, January 15, 2011 at 9:39 am
                      wow wouldnt want to get on the teacher's bad side or make it malfunction

                      Recent Comments

                      Brandon wrote:

                      Minecraft is hard
                      Minecraft As A Mandatory Subject...

                      Brandon wrote:

                      Minecraft is awsome😁💩💩💩💩💩😺
                      Minecraft As A Mandatory Subject...

                      Cat wrote:

                      It isn't cool it is bad
                      Alaska Fishermen Grapple With Ki...

                      JmPlanteras wrote:

                      im not poor im just in wrong pla...
                      Does It Really Rain Diamonds On ...

                      Our Apps and Plugins