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Taiwan-developed robotic English teacher makes its debut

2012/05/25 22:03:58

Taipei, May 25 (CNA) A locally developed and manufactured robot that has been programmed to teach English made its debut Friday on the opening day of the 15th International CALL Research Conference at Providence University in Taichung.

The robotic English teacher has a "large doll head" and arms and a body that are able to make movements based on the dialogues being taught in an English class.

Vivian Wu, one of the robot's designers and an associate professor of English language, literature and linguistics at Providence University, said the robot's appearance can be modified based on the nature of the language program it is being used for.

The robot's current design caters to interactive dialogues with elementary school students, Wu said.

Programmed to teach English in coordination with textbooks, the robot is aimed at allowing young students to learn to speak English in a stressless environment and in a fun way, she added.

The robot has already been used to teach at remote elementary schools in Yunlin County, and the results were promising, she said.

The robotic English teacher -- the first of its kind in Taiwan -- was developed and manufactured in cooperation with National Formosa University in Yunlin County, Wu said.

The biennial international conference on research in computer assisted language learning (CALL), which was being held in Taiwan for the first time, attracted the participation of more than 200 domestic and foreign scholars and experts. The event will run through May 27.

(By Sophia Chen and Elizabeth Hsu)