Home Artificial Intelligence Robot Helps Children With Learning Disabilities Stay Focused

Robot Helps Children With Learning Disabilities Stay Focused

Robot Helps Children With Learning Disabilities Stay Focused

A team of engineering researchers on the University of Waterloo has successfully developed and used a robot to assist keep children with learning disabilities focused on their work.

This was part of a bigger study that also found each the kids and their instructors valued the positive classroom contributions that the robot made.

The research paper titled “User Evaluation of Social Robots as a Tool in One-to-one Instructional Settings for Students with Learning Disabilities” was presented on the International Conference on Social Robotics in Florence, Italy.

Potential of Robots in Public Education System

Dr. Kerstin Dautenhahn is a professor of electrical and computer engineering.

“There is unquestionably an ideal potential for using robots in the general public education system,” said Dautenhahn. “Overall, the findings imply that the robot has a positive effect on students.”

Dautenhahn has dedicated several years to researching robotics in the incapacity context and strives to include principles of equity, inclusion, and variety in her research projects.

Individualized learning support, resembling one-on-one instruction and using smartphones and tablets, may prove advantageous to students with learning disabilities.

Recently, educators have been exploring using social robots to help in students’ learning, primarily specializing in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Unfortunately, little attention has been paid to using socially assistive robots for college kids with learning disabilities.

Conducting Experiments With QT Humanoid Robot

In collaboration with two other Waterloo engineering researchers and three experts from the Learning Disabilities Society in Vancouver, Dautenhahn set out to deal with this gap. They conducted a series of experiments utilizing a small humanoid robot called QT.

Because the Canada 150 Research Chair in Intelligent Robotics, Dautenhahn believes that QT’s head and hand gestures, speech, and facial expressions make it particularly well-suited to be used with children with learning disabilities.

Expanding on earlier successful research, the team divided 16 students with learning disabilities into two groups. The primary group received one-on-one instruction, while the second group received one-on-one instruction and interacted with the QT robot. The teacher directed the robot via tablet, and it then independently performed various activities using its speech and gestures.

In the course of the sessions, the trainer maintained control, with the robot taking on periodically, prompted by the trainer, to steer the coed. The robot initiated the session, set objectives, and provided self-regulating strategies as required. If the training process was interrupted, the robot implemented strategies resembling games, riddles, jokes, respiration exercises, and physical movements to redirect the coed back to the duty.

In keeping with Dautenhahn, students who worked with the robot were generally more engaged with their tasks and will complete their tasks at a better rate in comparison with students who weren’t assisted by a robot.


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