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Finnish School Hires A Robot Teacher Expert in Languages


Elias, the new language teacher at a Finnish primary school, has endless patience for repetition, never makes a pupil feel embarrassed for asking a question and can even do the ‘Gangnam Style’ dance. Elias is also a robot.

The language-teaching machine comprises a humanoid robot and mobile application, one of four robots in a pilot programme at primary schools in the southern city of Tampere.

The robot is able to understand and speak 23 languages and is equipped with software that allows it to understand students’ requirements and helps it to encourage learning. In this trial, however, it communicates in English, Finnish and German only.

The robot recognizes the pupil’s skill levels and adjusts its questions accordingly. It also gives feedback to teachers about a student’s possible problems.

Some of the human teachers who have worked with the technology see it as a new way to engage children in learning. “I think in the new curriculum the main idea is to get the kids involved, motivated and make them active.

I see Elias as one of the tools to get different kinds of practice and different kinds of activities into the classroom,” language teacher Riikka Kolunsarka said. Using robots in classrooms is not new but modern technologies such as cloud services and 3D printing are allowing smaller start-up companies to enter the sector.
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