Sunday, December 20, 2015

Acquire Mandarin from a robot?

The US Department of Education 2016 National Education Technology Plan ( includes praise for "Robot-Assistant Language Learning (RALL-E), a robot that will interact with students in Mandarin, with appropriate facial experession and gestures (p. 16). The claim is that this is a low-anxiety was of interacting in a second language. The federal report does not mention that the company that produces RALL-E, Alelo, Inc is a for-profit company (  Their board consists largely of business and legal experts.  No evidence of RALL-E's effectiveness is presented other than this statement on their brochure: "We conducted a focus group test of the initial prototype in May 2014. The results of the focus group provided preliminary validation of the research questions, and provided useful student feedback for how to prioritize future development. The next focus-group test will be held in January 2015." (There is no news about the results of the January 2015 session.) The reports on their website reveal no special knowledge about language acquisition and language teaching.
Nevertheless, RALL-E got an endorsement from the US Department of Education.

1 comment:

  1. It is a very interesting and new approach of acquiring a second language, may be a good program for younger kids.