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Technology bringing education into 'virtual world'

By Cheng Yu | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-12-07 13:35
Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc, discusses technology and education with Liu Yachao, chief operating officer of TAL Education Group, during the Global Education Summit 2018 which ended on Dec 5. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Technology is injecting more vitality in the Chinese online education industry and will play an important role improving students' abilities, top industry experts said recently.

"Virtual reality will have a great impact on the country's education sector. More teaching processes will be moved from reality to the virtual world," said Liu Yachao, chief operating officer of TAL Education Group, the country's leading education company.

He said by then, it is likely that most people will spend around 70 percent of their time in the virtual world.

"It will also break geographic limits," he noted. "An educator from the US and aother from China may be in the same meeting (through VR)."

Liu's words came during the Global Education Summit 2018 that ended in Beijing on Wednesday. More than 800 leaders from the education industry participated in the event.

"Artificial intelligence can assist teachers but will not replace them," said Yu Teng, co-founder of Chinese online education company Zhangmen.

He said AI indeed plays a big role in improving teaching efficiency and boosting teaching efficacy. "However, AI cannot replace teachers in helping students create, to be aesthetic and critical."

According to Yu, Zhangmen has been leveraging AI to make students more well-rounded.

The Shanghai-based company announced two new brands earlier this year. One aims to improve kids' ability to learn and concentrate while the other is focused on music tutoring.

In addition to helping more Chinese students, Chen Yuan, co-founder of leading online education company VIPKid, noted it is promoting Chinese online education to countries and regions worldwide.

VIPKid, founded in 2013, has built up its business in China by offering children one-on-one English tutoring online, enabling 500,000 children to learn English from 60,000 teachers based in North America.

"From this year, we have been exploring going global as we set up our first overseas office in South Korea," Chen said.

The Beijing-based company plans to set up branches and expand its English and Chinese business in 10 cities abroad including Seoul, Tokyo, London, Singapore, Madrid and Buenos Aires in the next three years, she added.

Xiao Dun, co-founder of another online education startup 17Edtech, agreed technology is critical in improving the traditional education sector as a whole.

Facing the future, more efforts should be made for educational informatization, he said.

"The combination of education and informatization will help promote education equity and quality education in the future," Xiao added.

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