How far do we want the education of children to be delegated to machines?
Robots engage in some form of social interaction with humans, through speech, gestures, or other means of communication, assistive robotics aid people with disabilities, mainly for the physical and neurodevelopmental disabilities.
Robots are increasingly being used to teach students in the classroom for a number of subjects across science, maths and language. Research shows that while students enjoy learning with robots, teachers are slightly reluctant to use them in the classroom.
Teachers might be more skeptical of robots being integrated into the classroom and children learn best when teaching aligns with their natural exuberance, energy and curiosity.
Nowadays robotics is one of the most dynamic fields of scientific research. These days, robotics and mechatronics is offered in almost every university in the world.
Robots can boost children’s education, it plays an important role in the education of young people but will never fully replace teachers, and scientists say social robots are proving effective in the teaching of certain narrow subjects, such as vocabulary or prime numbers. Meanwhile, teachers still use their character, creativity and inspiration to trigger children’s instinct to learn.
Students are much more enthusiastic about robot in their classroom, enjoying the human-like interaction. However, they might want the robot to adapt its behaviour to their feelings and display a wide range of emotions and expressions. Meanwhile, such fully autonomous behaviour will require further research and development in robotics.
As artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated, much of the public attention has focused on how successfully these technologies can compete against humans. Children preferred as natural behaviour from the robot as possible, imagining the robot in the role of their teacher.
With the development of internet and mobile technologies, electronics, nano technology, advances in medicine, health and digital applications and so on speed Robotics and Artificial Intelligence impacts on economics and business.
There is no single system for teaching children well, but the best ones have this in common: they open up rich worlds that children can explore in their own ways, developing their interests with help rather than indoctrination, enabling teachers to give the children individual help.
But it’s not a matter of high-tech or low-tech; the point is that the world a child enters is rich and diverse enough to ignite their curiosity, and allow them to discover a way of learning that best reflects their character and skills and there are plenty of teaching programmes designed to work with children, not against them.
In recent years scientists have started to build robots for the classroom – not the robot kits used to learn about technology and mathematics, but social robots that can actually teach. This is because pressures on teaching budgets, and calls for more personalised teaching, have led to a search for technological solutions. In the broadest sense, social robots have the potential to become part of the educational infrastructure just like paper, white boards, and computer tablets, a social robot has the potential to support and challenge students in ways unavailable in current resource-limited educational environments.
Robots can free up precious time for teachers, allowing the teacher to focus on what people still do best – provide a comprehensive, empathic, and rewarding educational experience. And as we rely more and more on these systems, it is important to know how they work and why, better understanding on how the systems work, led to insights into the nature of human learning.
There are also ethical issues in introducing robots in education, learners are positive about their experiences, but parents and teaching staff adopt a more cautious attitude. Notwithstanding, robots show great promise when teaching restricted topics with the effects almost matching those of human tutoring, although the use of robots in educational settings is limited by technical and logistical challenges for now, it is highly likely that classrooms of the future will feature robots that assist a human teacher.
A robot will not get tired no matter how many mistakes a child makes – this leads to a personal connection with the student, which research shows can help resolve issues related to shyness, reluctance, confidence and frustration that may arise in dealing with a human teacher. Robots create opportunities not only to learn from a non-threatening, three-dimensional inanimate object, but also to learn through interaction with other human beings, thus encouraging autonomous social behavior, this has enabled robots to help with a variety of human-like functions, as well as to aid with the goal of improving social skills in individuals with disability.
Robotics solutions – where human workers and robots share their skills, are entering the market, thus becoming the new frontier in industrial robotics. They combine the advantages of robots, which enjoy high levels of accuracy, speed and repeatability, with the flexibility and cognitive skills of human workers.
In order to facilitate the integration of robots in the classroom, we need to be able to provide appropriate interfacing mechanisms (software, hardware or even mobile apps), allowing the human teacher to control the robot with minimal training.
Additionally, to take full advantage of human skills, it is important that intuitive user interfaces are properly designed, so that human operators can easily program and interact with the robot.
Let’s engineer children out of the factory and into the real world.