Humanoid robot takes over as teacher

September 30, 2017 – 06:20

Nao the robot looks like a human being and, according to the manufacturer, is now the most used teaching robot in the world. He was developed in France and costs USD 10 000. (Picture: Aldebaran Robotics)

Robots could democratize education, say optimistic researchers.

Several places in the world are now experimenting with robots as teachers.

Robots will be able to give all students top-notch education that is always up to date with the latest knowledge. Even more importantly, machines that are teachers will be endowed with endless patience and will probably be able to customize the teaching of each student better than today’s teachers, say the researchers.

Teaching takeover in the next decade?

The coming decade could see an education revolution with robots as teachers. Maybe it’s already underway.

Humanoid robots can be programmed to know exactly what inspires students to learn.

The robot instruction can always be coordinated with visual directions and pictures shown on an electronic board.

Robots can also teach students one-on-one, so the instruction is neither too easy nor too difficult. This can especially benefit students with learning difficulties and enable them to enjoy their learning.

A camera and software that allow the robot to read the student’s reactions ensures a good communication flow between human and machine.

Must be human-like

Robots can be updated with the most current knowledge and teaching methods. They also work for free and don’t require much more than electricity to run. These features add to their appeal as teachers.

Researchers in the field have found that the robots need to resemble people in school settings, and in particular when teaching young children.

Here Nao the robot helps a toddler learn English in an experiment by researchers at Tilburg University in Germany. A lot of the research on the use of robots looks at possibilities…

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