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Seoul to introduce 'English tutor robots' for young students

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Cho Hee-yeon, superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, speaks during a press conference in Seoul, Nov. 29. Yonhap

"English tutor robots" will be introduced to elementary and middle schools in Seoul next year to assist in students' one-on-one English conversations, the municipal education office said Wednesday.

The use of robots in English speaking education for young students was announced by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education as part of efforts to reinforce the subject in public schools.

The English tutor robots, to be developed with a private company, will be supplied to five elementary and middle schools in the capital for a trial run in March next year, the office said.

The artificial intelligence-based robots will look similar to restaurant serving robots and have the ability to conduct one-on-one English conversations with students, it explained, adding they will act as an assistant teacher in the classroom and demonstrate English conversation like a native speaker.

The robots will also offer customized one-on-one learning, including correcting individual students' pronunciation, the office said.

The office said it plans to expand the distribution of the English tutor robots if the trial run produces satisfactory results.

In addition, the office will expand the use of voice chatbot apps in English listening and speaking education and local students' non-face-to-face exchanges with foreign students. The chatbot apps, which can be installed on individual mobile phones or desktops, will enable students to engage in a free conversation with the software on topics selected by the users. (Yonhap)


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