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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #55)

January 14, 2010

While a lot of teachers started back at work last week, there are still a large proportion of teachers enjoying an extended Christmas and New Year’s break.  That’s why I was really surprised to find out that last Friday now holds the record for the largest number of daily readers ever on Expacked.  First Sunrise of 2010 in Korea

Thanks again for all those people who helped make Expacked a regular feature, helping to better inform English teachers on news that affects them in Korea.

Future Technology

At a major technology Expo last week, Google announced (and released) their “iPhone killer”, a new Google cell phone called Nexus One.  Although it looks like an excellent new phone, the only real thing that blew me away was how well it used voice commands and voice input for things like creating emails, findings maps and the internet.

How does this relate to teaching you ask?  Speech recognition has come a long way in the last 10 years and, based on what I saw, it will help revolutionise travel and living in non English speaking countries.  Lets combine a cell phone, speech-to-text and instant language translations (Google’s automatic translations are already pretty good on single sentences), and you now have the ability to use technology in bringing down most language barriers.

Imagine this – I have just moved to Korea and now need to ask a Korean (who knows no English) how to find the bus stop.  I could try and get him to understand by playing ‘charades’ with him for 5 minutes, or just speak into your cell phone.  This then translates your question into Korean and uses a Korean voice through the speakers to ask the Korean your question.  He then points in the direction to the bus stop and gives you some additional help in Korean.  Your phone then uses speech recognition to input the Korean speech and translate his directions into English for you.  All done in less than a minute and both parties are more than happy.

Imagine how you could also use this kind of technology in the English classroom.

This technology is a lot closer than most people think.    Its maybe only 5 years away!  As far as I am concerned, the sooner the better.

Seoul’s Skyline About to Be Transformed

Those that have met me may already know that I have a love for urban development and how it affects society.  This is why is am really excited about what is happening in Korea over the next 5 to 10 years.

Its a fact that Seoul is not a ‘pretty city’, however this could all change with a lot of huge developments in progress.  We have mentioned about some of these developments several times over the last year in Expacked, however I ran into a great little update about what’s been happening.

Seoul’s skyline is about to play host to at least 5 skyscrapers over 500 meters tall (they are all well over twice the size of Korea’s current gem, the ionic 63 Building).  This would catapult Seoul to one of the top skylines in the world and could significantly boost Korea’s international standing.

Of course, these things need to be built first and it will be interesting to see if they also encounter any community resistance to the developments.  Will this have a major impact on the lives of Koreans or is this just a sign of modern times?

Click Here for the story in The Chosun Ilbo.

Here’s the stories making the news this week:

Feel free to comment on any of the stories and make use of the easy sharing options available – in just a few quick clicks you can share any of these stories to all your teaching mates in Korea.

I hope you enjoy the read and, of course, have a good laugh at this week’s jokes.

Cheers,

Ken

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