Korean Robot Teaching Assistants

Korean classrooms will feature robotic teaching assistants for preschool and kindergarten classes. The Korean government will invest 1 billion KRW ($8.69 million USD) in 2011 to expand the system to 500 preschools.


(Korean 'R-Learning' robot teacher)

These robotic teaching assistants can also be used by parents, who can connect to the robot wirelessly and exchange messages with their child and check on their child's progress.

The robots will be evaluated over the next two years and rolled out to other schools based on performance.

Teaching machines and caregiver robots have been present in science fiction for more than fifty years. In his 1951 story The Fun They Had, Isaac Asimov wrote about a mechanical teacher:

Margie went into the classroom. It was right next to her bedroom, and the mechanical teacher was on and waiting for her. It was always on at the same time every day except Saturday and Sunday, because her mother said little girls learned better if they learned at regular hours.

In his 1950's series Cities in Flight, James Blish wrote about accelerated schooling that was overseen by computers.

Philip K. Dick wrote Nanny, a short story about a robotic caregiver, in 1952:

Nanny was built in the shape of a sphere, a large metal sphere, flattened on the bottom. Her surface had been sprayed with a dull green enamel, which had become chipped and gouged through wear. There was not much visible in addition to the eye stalks. The treads could not be seen. On each side of the hull was the outline of a door. From these the magnetic grapples came, when they were needed.

In his 1969 short story collection I Sing The Body Electric, Ray Bradbury describes a robot grandma:

...for you who have worried over inattentive sitters, nurse who cannot be trusted with marked liquor bottles, and well-meaning Uncles and Aunts... we have perfected the first humanoid-genre mini-circuited, rechargeable AC-DC Mark V Electrical Grandmother...

From etnews. For those who are less than enthusiastic about robots taking care of small children, see The crying shame of robot nannies: an ethical appraisal by Noel and Amanda Sharkey.

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