The University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has started a new research project where pupils are becoming the teacher to educate a robot. The robot is programmed as “the ideal pupil” with the characteristics that it is curious, want to understand everything and ask constant flow of questions. In this spirit, the teaching-to-learn-pedagogy, has shown to be a very effective form of learning, both as a method but also that the robots curious will to know and understand inspire the pupils to become more engaged in their own learning environment. With this approach, the robots can be considered both a tool and an assistant for the teacher. The research project called START – Student Tutor and Robot Tutee – thereby, is focusing on younger pupils in primary school where the robot is working as learning buddy to the children.
Brian Scassellati, professor of computer science, cognitive science and mechanical engineering at Yale, that is leading another research project on robots and learning explains: “Socially assistive robotics (SAR) is a comparatively new field of robotics that focuses on developing robots capable of assisting users through social — rather than physical — interaction. Just as a good coach or teacher can provide motivation, guidance and support without making physical contact with a student, socially assistive robots attempt to provide the appropriate emotional, cognitive and social cues to encourage development, learning or therapy for an individual.”
For this professor Scassellati claims that robots are much better equipped than virtual assistants. With the benefits mentioned above robots are now on the doorstep to the most modern classrooms giving the pupils the best possible learning environment.