It’s fascinating! The idea of educational robots in the classroom at first glance, seems to give the idea that the robots are doing the educating. The big surprise is who really is, doing the educating that is. If you say the teacher, that would be absolutely correct. However hold up just a second, because you might be surprised who the teacher is.
A very familiar phrase that is often heard is, “When the student is ready the teacher will come.” Has it come in the form of a robot? Actually it is the student who becomes the teacher!
The robot, called a “teachable agent” such as Betty’s Brain, uses the learning by teaching paradigm. Students are responsible for creating a light model, using models and resources pertaining to the topic under study.http://www.canadarobotix.com/robot-kits
The overall idea is that in order to program Betty’s Brain the student must learn the subject matter in order to create the program. Questions are asked of the robot, which determines how well the topic has been conveyed or not.
When an incorrect answers is the reply, the exact train of thought given the “brain” shows on a screen, aiding in successfully finding the correct answer and why it led to an incorrect one.
The real challenge here is not the robot(s), but the ability of the classroom teacher’s knowledge of how it all works, and how to implement this into their lessons at the level needed.
The robots have absolutely found a place in the classroom, but like so much other technology available to teachers, training and implementation are far too often lacking.
Many teachers who succeed, do so on their own time and at their own expense. They are few by comparison. School districts provide one day training sessions that only scratch the surface.
Robots can be the most awesome addition to the classroom for students to learn by teaching, but there must be that someone qualified and trained on the robot first.
A simple as some may be, like, Lego’s Milo, to benefit from all that can be taught by this early educational bot, the teacher must first become the student…again.