An elementary school classroom looks orderly. The students seemed keen to do a task, while the teacher provides instruction. Unlike teachers in schools in general, teachers in these classrooms has a body made of plastic and computer components.
This is not a scene in a science fiction movie but a real place in a school in Masan, South Korea. Engkey, thus the name of the robot in the class room, apparently was teaching English language materials.
Reported by CNN on Monday (25/10/2010), this is part of a pilot program launched by the South Korean government. In this program, second grade elementary school students are taught English by a robot.
Mun-Taek Choi, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology who developed Engkey mentioned, the results of the evaluation show that educational robot system has proven effective in helping improve student interest and motivate them in learning English.
“As many as 36 robots Engkey been incorporated into 18 primary schools throughout Daegu, Korea until the end of this year,” said Choi.
Robot boned round and orange are controlled remotely by a real teacher outside the classroom. The teacher’s face, appearing on screen in the body Engkey. Well, this robot can connect students with teachers at a location very far away, even overseas.
“Thus, these telepresence robots also help overcome the problem of teaching English in South Korea, due to lack of native-speaker teachers,” said Choi.