Robotics in Education and Learning: 5 Key Trends – Robots invading classrooms still seems like something pulled from the pages of a science fiction novel. In many past imaginings of the future, robots were a prominent part of life and education. In the 1960s American cartoon, The Jetsons, the youngest member of the family attended a school with robot teachers – an image that could never become reality… or could it?
Even today, it’s difficult to imagine a robot at the front of the classroom, but according to some of the latest robotics trends, robots are starting to become more prominent in education and learning. Here are five key trends of robotics in education and learning that could eventually change education as we know it today…
Trend One: Robotics Kits
Many companies are breaking into the robotic kits for education market, such as LEGO, who offer an extensive range of Mindstorms programming kits for children and schools. There are robotic kits designed for children that can help in all areas of STEM education.
One of the most innovative companies to explore the learning potential of robotics kits is Ebotics. Ebotics, like a number of companies, are helping to bring technology into the classroom through ready-made kits that teach robotics and programming.
Trend Two: Educational Robot ‘Toys’
Toy robots are not a new invention: robots have filled the toy boxes of children for decades. However, the recent trend has seen standard robotic toys undergo a complete makeover.
Today’s robot toys are educational and packed full of learning opportunities and tools. Dash, a robot developed by Wonder Workshop, is a prime example of how far ‘toy’ robots have come. Children can expand the potential of the robot companion through fun coding and programming activities that are simple to learn from an early age.
Trend Three: Robotic Teaching Assistants
Robots used as teaching assistants or advanced learning tools is a growing trend. Learning companions have already been deployed in some research studies to examine the advantages and potential complications of using robots for educational purposes.
In a 2006 study, a robot was used as a teaching assistant in an English class. The study proposed five models of teacher-robot collaboration: storytelling, Q&A, cheerleader, let’s act, and pronunciation. Results of the study showed that there was educational benefit to the addition of a robot in the classroom.
Trend Four: Robot Teachers
It’s not just robotic teaching assistants that could become a reality in the near future: there’s plenty of momentum behind the development of fully robotic teachers. Humanoid robots for teaching is a concept that has already been trialled on a number of occasions, such as in 2009, when a robot took a class in a Tokyo elementary school.
In 2017, head teacher of Wellington College, Sir Anthony Sheldon, predicted that artificially intelligent robots could replace teachers within 10 years. Multiple studies have explored the idea of humanoid robots becoming tomorrow’s teachers. In one joint study between LEGO and Latitude Research, children responded very positively to a more robot-centric world, with 64% of children studied describing robots in a human-like way.
‘a girl was able to use a telepresence robot to attend school remotely after having surgery.’
Trend Five: Telepresence
Telepresence robots are an area of technological innovation that has captured the imagination of tech developers around the world, and they could have quite the impact on education. These robots work via remote control, using audio and visual capabilities to allow a person to interact with the robot’s surroundings from a remote location.
A telepresence robot could allow teachers and students to be in two places at once, at least to a degree. These robots have already been put to use in real-world settings. In one recent example, a girl was able to use a telepresence robot to attend school remotely after having surgery.
We may still be some way off realising the robot-dependent world that past generations imagined, but it’s getting closer every day with the latest breakthroughs in robotics for education.
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