The purpose of this paper is to identify ways teachers might employ a robot to achieve learning objectives with pupils with intellectual disabilities and potential outcome measures.
A series of five case studies where teacher-pupil dyads were observed during five planned video-recorded sessions with a humanoid robot. Engagement was rated in a classroom setting and during the last session with the robot. Video recordings were analysed for duration of engagement, teacher assistance and number of goals achieved.
Teachers identified a wide range of learning objectives ranging from an appreciation of cause and effect to improving the pupil's sense of direction. The robot's role could be to reward behaviour, provide cues or provide an active element to learning. Rated engagement was significantly higher with the robot than in the classroom.
A robot with a range of functions that allowed it to be engaging and motivating for the wide range of pupils in special education would be expensive and require teachers to learn how to use it. The findings identify ways to provide evidence that this expenditure of time and money is worthwhile.
There is almost no research teachers can refer to on using robots to support learning in children with intellectual disabilities. This paper is therefore of value for researchers who wish to investigate using robots to educate children with intellectual disabilities, as it can provide vital information to aid study design.
This research was completed as part of a BMedSci project at the University of Nottingham and received no external funding.
Hedgecock, J., Standen, P., Beer, C., Brown, D. and S. Stewart, D. (2014), "Evaluating the role of a humanoid robot to support learning in children with profound and multiple disabilities", Journal of Assistive Technologies, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 111-123. https://doi.org/10.1108/JAT-02-2014-0006Download as .RIS
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