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Education Featured Article

May 02, 2011

Robotics Makes Dent in Education Space

By Carrie Schmelkin, TMCnet Web Editor


Robotics has become an integral part of many different facets of life – from electronics to medicine to agriculture to aerospace to mining.

While robots were once just thought of as childrens’ toys, the field has expanded exponentially and has now begun to make its dent in the education realm.

In a school in Daegu, southeast of Seoul, instead of students sitting at their desks listening to their teacher instruct them on the English language, they watch as a one-meter tall plastic robot shuffles around the floor reading books to them and calling out instructions. Instead of a head of hair, the teacher boasts computer circuits, and instead of high heels, the teacher wears a set of wheels.


In this example, a robot is used to teach an English language class in the school. The egg-shaped robot, called “Engkey,” is remotely controlled by an English teacher located in Australia. This teacher’s face is displayed on the screen of the robot.

“Besides being popular with children, Engkey is a cost-effective way to help address South Korea’s shortage of qualified native-English speaking teachers,” a recent report states.

Kids still learn English and have to answer questions asked by the teacher, but the teacher in this case is a robot.

Robotics, which has grown far beyond the realms of science fictions, has always been a fascinating subject,” the report argues. “From simple robot toys to industrial robotics, robotics technology is today firmly entrenched into our day-to-day life and impacts our way of life much more than we think.”

The space of robotics is showing no signs of slowing down in 2011, according to industry experts. In fact, in 2010 alone, more than 120,000 industrial robots were shipped to electronics, automotive and metal industry companies. This year, experts predict a 10 to 15 percent increase in robot sales.

The area of robotics is presenting a multitude of options for students, aside from just serving as teachers.

Engineering students can take advantage of the rise of robotics and find a career in this space now, according to experts, particularly as many of the industries are calling for the use of robotics. 

“Most of the production, manufacturing and material handling industries are looking for alternatives to increase the productivity, which will soon get reflected in the jobs sector with the adoption of robotic systems in these industries,” the report states.

Robotics can be used to complete tasks that require higher accuracy and speed, in areas that are deemed hazardous and in the medical and housekeeping space as well.

With a robot starting to take the place of a teacher who has his/her master’s degree, there is no telling where this field is heading.


Carrie Schmelkin is a Web Editor for TMCnet. Previously, she worked as Assistant Editor at the New Canaan Advertiser, a 102-year-old weekly newspaper, covering news and enhancing the publication's social media initiatives. Carrie holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a bachelor's degree in English from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves


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