Advanced technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) have altered our perception of traditional schooling, including the global education industry. It was not long ago that someone needed to go to the library to finish a paper or look up information about a particular topic. However, thanks to the Internet, a large pool of information is readily available and easily accessible today. Several schools and universities have adopted new technologies and tapped into digital learning to help students reach their full potential. Robots have also become a common phenomena in several academic institutions as our technology continues to evolve. Human-robot collaboration will provide more prospects for the education sector to thrive in the future, without eliminating human involvement in the process. In this article, we will venture into some practical applications of robotics in education to achieve sustainable and equitable growth.
Introducing collaborative learning model
Humanoid robots have been deployed in many schools worldwide to teach students and work alongside teachers. Educational institutes can capitalize on both the teachers’ and the robots’ resources and skills by facilitating participation in a collaborative learning model. For example, here the robot takes over the task of offering knowledge-based content, which teachers used to accomplish by spending 90% of their time on Google. This will allow teachers to devote more time towards mentoring children and providing emotional support and care that is not attainable through machines.
Human-robot collaboration can aid in bridging the gap between comprehensive learning and thorough guidance. Several schools around the world have already begun to put them to test in the classroom. According to experts, encountering robots in classrooms will become routine in the next ten years all across the world.
Robots and their multiple applications
Robotics and its implementation have the potential to make a difference in the education sector. Working with robots can improve educational programs’ quality and serve as a helpful tool for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education, boost special education, and enhance educational outcomes.
Robots can also aid in the enhancement of cognitive skills in children, such as critical thinking and problem solving, from a young age. They can be programmed to track annual progress reports and targeted benchmarks to analyze students’ development in comparison to personal goals and evaluate their achievement. They can also help teachers collect valuable information about students and assist them in setting actionable learning goals.
Introducing NAO and Pepper, the versatile robots
NAO, one of the most popular humanoid robots, caters to the requirements of teachers and students in more than 70 countries and over 6000 academic institutes all over the globe. It is being used as a teaching assistant in classrooms with a small teacher-to-student ratio. Its visual and intuitive interface is very effective for customized one-on-one or small group educational sessions. NAO can easily establish an empathetic bond with students and teachers with its human-like appearance and actions. Academic institutions can utilize NAO’s adaptability and versatility to expand their basic curriculum and offer STEAM education and language learning at a young age.
Along with NAO, Pepper can also be an effective tool in promoting IEP (Individualized Education Program) for students. Furthermore, its neutral expression can be therapeutic for children with special needs, by boosting their confidence and social skills.
According to an Australian study, students’ curiosity is incited, and their creativity, teamwork, and communication skills are enhanced when interacting with humanoid robots. Teachers have also observed that as students directly interact with electrical and mechanical processes and procedures involving robots, their coding skills automatically improve beyond the expected level.
Double 3 revolutionizes remote learning
Another exciting aspect of robotics’ demand is the support it provides to homeschooled students or those who cannot attend school by enabling video interactions. For example, Double 3 is a self-driving video conferencing robot with two wheels that transforms how one learns remotely. In addition, Double 3 helps students and teachers feel more connected to the classroom by giving them a physical presence when they can’t be there in person.
Around 13000 humanoid robots have been placed at different schools and educational institutions all over the world. This figure is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. The next phase will be to determine how far robotics can be integrated into our educational system to work in harmony with humans.
As the scope of technological innovation expands every day, it is fair to assume that robotics and AI will present further opportunities to cater to the education industry in the future.