South Korea is using hundreds of robots as teacher aides in the classroom. According to Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, “with the right kind of technology at a critical period in a child’s development, they (robots) could supplement learning in the classroom.”
Timing the robot’s responses was also very important. If the robot responded too fast or too slow to the child this disrupted the interaction between them so the physical rhythm of the robot is crucial. When the robot was able to bob or shake in rhythm with an autistic child, the child would be less fearful to engage with the robot. “Simple mimicry seems to build a kind of trust, and increase sociability”, said Anjana Bhat, an assistant professor in the department of education.
For robots to be truly effective guides with children, robots will have to learn from students. According to Andrea Thomaz, assistant professor of interactive computing at Georgia Tech, if ”scientists could equip a machine to understand the nonverbal cues that signal “I’m confused” or “I have a question” — giving it some ability to monitor how its lesson is being received” then the robot could accumulate knowledge through experience.
Not sure if a robot could replace a teacher, what do you think?
To learn more about the robots mentioned in this posting please check out the links below.
- RUBI the robot - http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/18319
- CosmoBot - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmobot
- Asimo Robot - http://asimo.honda.com/
- Bandit Robot - http://robotics.usc.edu/~kheldman/
- Nao Robot - http://www.aldebaran-robotics.com/en
- South Korea Robots - http://www.plasticpals.com/?p=21283
Images from Bandit Robot, CosmoBot Robot and Nao Robot sites