Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Caucasian-faced, English-speaking Philippinos teach English via South Korean robots

The brave new world of education:
Almost 30 robots have started teaching English to youngsters in a South Korean city in a pilot project designed to nurture the nascent robot industry.

Engkey, a white, egg-shaped robot developed by the Korea Institute of Science of Technology (KIST), began taking classes on Monday at 21 elementary schools in the southeastern city of Daegu.

The 29 robots, about one metre high with a TV display panel for a face, wheeled around the classroom while speaking to the students, reading books to them and dancing to music by moving their head and arms.

The robots, which display an avatar face of a Caucasian woman, are controlled remotely by teachers of English in the Philippines - who can see and hear the children via a remote control system.

Cameras detect the Filipino teachers' facial expressions and instantly reflect them on the avatar's face, said Sagong Seong-Dae, a senior scientist at KIST.
Just imagine if Koreans were learning English from Australians, or even worse, Kiwis.


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