In a move that has recently drawn attention from major overseas media organizations (New York Times, CNN and Time), Daegu Metropolitan City will deploy 29 English teaching assistant robots at 21 high schools in the city, and conduct pilot education for 14 weeks (Dec. 27, 2010 to Mar. 31, 2011). The city starts lessons involving the robots in earnest by holding an opening ceremony in the audiovisual room of Hakjeong Elementary School in Buk-gu district at 11 a.m. on December 27.
○ Daegu completed deployment of the 29 teaching assistant robots at 21 elementary schools by investing 1.6 billion won in the project jointly with the Ministry of Knowledge Economy and the Daegu Metropolitan Office of Education. The robot was developed by the Knowledge Economy Frontier Intelligence Robot Program.
○ The English teaching assistant robot is one of the world’s 50 greatest inventions for 2010, as designated by Time magazine. An “Avatar robot,” which is remotely controlled by a native English teacher from overseas, and an Auto Control Robot, which works with Korean teachers, will conduct the classes.
○ With the Avatar (Tele Presence) Robot, a native English teacher remotely controls facial expressions, movement, eyesight, and movement paths through remote contact from overseas, and conducts English and mathematics-in-English classes, as well as group activities.
○ In the class, the facial expressions and movements of the native English speaker are presented in real time through an Avatar on the LED monitor, which is installed on the robot’s face, thus allowing students to see the facial expressions of the Native English teacher and the movements of the robot during class hours.
○ Additionally, the Auto Control Robot, which teaches jointly with a Korean English teacher, conducts classes involving vocabulary, sentence pronunciation, role play (dialogue) and English games directly using the robot’s diverse contents based on what students learn in textbooks.
○ A Deagu city official said, “The pilot project is expected to help form a consensus on the robotics industry among citizens, and make major contributions to enhancing the image of Daegu as a city spearheading the robotics sector,” adding, “If this pilot project receives a positive response from students, the city will consider expanding the introduction of robots in phases.”