Beginning in March 2024, five elementary and middle schools in Seoul will benefit from artificial intelligence-powered robots to support English instruction, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education announced on Wednesday.
Students can improve their English language proficiency, conversational skills, and pronunciation with the help of the English tutoring robots. The robots will offer a personalised education service to academically underachieving students, allowing them to pick up the language at their own speed.
The education office also announced that it would give schools access to a chatbot application that lets users practise having phone conversations. With the help of the app, students can have discussions and dialogues with the robot about any topic they choose.
For instance, by learning how to place food orders at a restaurant, students can hone their conversational abilities while using vocabulary and expressions they have learned in class. After that, the AI robot will provide instant feedback on how they are using the language.
The programme will remain in trial mode until the education office determines, based on the findings and input from the schools, to formally adopt it. If the test run is deemed successful, more robots will be sent to other schools.
During a press briefing, Seoul Education Superintendent Cho Hee-yeon stated, “(The Seoul Education Office) has come up with innovative ways to upgrade English education in the public sector as English remains the most-spoken language in the world.”
According to Cho, additional plans call for all elementary schools in Seoul to employ at least one native English teacher for every institution. Two native English teachers will be required to be hired by schools that are thought to have a sizable student body. Furthermore, study materials in the English language will be created for middle school pupils.
The education office also intends to make greater use of its international collaborations with foreign educational institutions.
A student exchange initiative known as “international joint classes,” which pairs Korean students with international peers, is set to grow to accommodate a larger age range of participants. Through the programme, the education office develops software services for translation and interpretation that allow Korean students to communicate online with students from other countries.
The programme began as an annual online course in 2021, during the pandemic. This year, it took place in May and August. Participants in the programme gained knowledge of coding and homepage creation.
The programme currently has 198 schools partnered with 18 different countries. US, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan, India, France, Australia, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Germany, Hong Kong, Denmark, Mongolia, Kuwait, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesian schools are among the partners.
Through the online exchange programme that links them with students abroad, “students in Seoul will be able to broaden their horizons and gain an understanding of different cultures,” Cho stated.
Additionally, in response to the rise in multicultural households in this area, the municipal education office will provide additional Korean language learning opportunities for students from these households in the upcoming school year.
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