Education Funding

South Korea Turns to Robot Teachers

By Anthony Rebora — December 29, 2010 1 min read

Somehow this seems kind of ominous: South Korea has recently deployed 29 robots to teach in some 20 elementary schools. No, seriously. If all goes as planned, the country hopes to have robot teachers in all of its 8,400 kindergarten classrooms by 2013.

The hope apparently is that the robot teachers, which can wheel around and move their “arms” demonstratively, will help cut costs (eh-hem) and decrease the country’s need to import foreign teachers to teach English. However, the machines, described as “telepresence bots,” don’t undo the need for human teachers entirely: At least as currently designed, they are controlled by educators in the Phillipines. Also, they can only handle eight students at a time. (Wimps.)

But—queue creepy music here—the engineers who created the robots are said to be working to make them more and more capable, supposedly, of the work of human teachers.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.