Social Learning and Robotics in Education

Picture of Dr. Ionel Coltea

Dr. Ionel Coltea

Social Learning and Robotics in Education

As the technological advancement of robots advances, there are new developments in the field of education. These technologies, known as social robots, are autonomous or semiautonomous machines that follow the norms of human interaction. These machines differ from the robot arms used in factories, which are usually designed to perform specific tasks and are not meant to interact with people. Robots used in education are much more likely to help students learn by following their example and demonstrating behaviors.

The use of robots in education has numerous educational benefits. They allow students with special needs to learn by interacting with robots. Robots can help children with autism learn social skills, while helping them focus their attention. Robots can also help students with physical disabilities, like those with limited mobility. In these cases, the robot can act as a constant companion, allowing the student to move around the premises. The robot can also be programmed to meet the student’s specific needs.

Another study has found that students who participate in robotics activities improve their interpersonal relationships. This is important, since most curricular activities require individual behavior. The shift from individual to group activity requires students to develop interdependent relationships with their peers. Furthermore, the study was conducted with pre-established groups of students. Because of this, the groups were not randomly assigned, the effects of the robotics lab on social skills can be observed. The findings have implications for the future of education and research.

There are other examples of educational robots that promote human-robot interaction. One company is the makers of the Keepon robot, which gained internet fame because of its affection for the popular video game Spoon. Its founder Hideki Kozima had worked in the special education field, and the robot has helped to bridge the communication gap between kids with disabilities and their teachers. In addition to the robot robots, tablet-based vocabulary games also have educational benefits.

While the novelty effect is generally not relevant to social learning, the robots can stimulate a certain type of excitement in their users. This excitement can lead to a “learning effect” if learners get familiar with the robot and like the way it interacts with them. This effect is particularly important in experiments where learners only meet the robot once. This effect could explain the higher learning outcomes seen in the one-session word learning studies.

In a recent study, children were exposed to a robot-actor while playing with a tablet. When compared to a human teacher, children working with the robot were more likely to engage in extra-group conversations. They also were exposed to more technology than the students who used a tablet. Despite this difference, the study results must be interpreted with caution. This study showed that children preferred the robot-actors but did not necessarily show higher learning outcomes.

Another study involved a Japanese child who learned English. The robot was placed in a class of six to 11-year-olds. Children could choose how much interaction they wanted with the robot, whether they were alone or with their class. The robot used English sentences to interact with the students, which enabled the authors to assess the children’s knowledge of six target words and phrases. However, the company failed to maintain their project and is now shutting down.

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