Due to a shortage of accredited English teachers, some South Korean schools have begun experimenting with robotic instructors who look a little like cartoon characters. According to pupils, these automated schoolmarms aren't all bad - in fact, they're easy graders.
After several months of trials, South Korea will spend approximately $45 million to place robotic teaching assistants in 500 preschools by 2011 and 8,000 preschools and kindergartens by 2013. If this schoolbot program proves effective, the robots - which teach via voice-recognition and long-distance learning technology - could invade elementary schools as well.
To their credit, the young students don't seem particularly fazed by their bizarre robo-teachers. Korean news reports that pupils find the robots fun and easy, but videos only show students visibly frustrated by their teachers' voice-recognition software. Take a look at the second video of a youngster learning with a robot - notice that she becomes notably peeved by her instructor's distinct lack of nuance when it comes to interpreting English accents.