Seoul to adopt robot tutor for English speaking class in 2024

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : November 30, 2023, 16:38 Updated : November 30, 2023, 17:37
Yonhap News Photo
[Yonhap News Photo]
SEOUL -- To help young students improve their English speaking skills, Seoul will provide robots that can engage in one-on-one conversations in English. Starting in March 2024, the artificial intelligence-based assistant teacher will correct students' pronunciation and offer personalized education for those who need extra help.

According to Cho Hee-yeon, superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, the municipal education office is currently working with a private company to develop a robot tutor that looks similar to serving robots at restaurants. The robots will be demonstrated in the capital city's five elementary and middle schools. After a test run, the education office will expand the AI English teacher to other schools.

In March 2024, Seoul will also test a chatbot application, designed for natural language verbal conversations, at three designated schools. Students can upgrade their English by engaging in role plays as they can create scenarios such as ordering food at a restaurant. This AI service will be available on PCs and mobile devices.

In 2011, the Ministry of Education embraced education technology (edutech) by distributing tablet PCs to schools in remote rural areas. Some schools have adopted digital textbooks using augmented reality and virtual reality headsets.

Various domestic companies are offering digital English content for children. U+ Elementary Country service, run by mobile carrier LG Uplus, provides English newspaper-based content. Children can improve their English skills by reading English articles and their Korean translations as well as listening to MP3 files recorded by native speakers.

In June 2023, mobile carrier KT released an internet protocol television English education content for kids by working with Scholastic, an American children's book publisher. Data cited by KT showed that the global edutech market which stood at $183 billion in 2019 is projected to reach $404 billion in 2025.
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