Implementing a Robot-Based Pedagogy in the Classroom: Initial Results from Stakeholder Interviews (Thomas Hughes-Roberts, David Brown)
Implementing a Robot-Based
Pedagogy in the Classroom: Initial
Results from Stakeholder Interviews
The EduRob Project
• Examine the use of robots as a mediated learning tool in special
• Develop a robotic-based pedagogy for implementation within
current teaching practice across 6 partner countries: UK, Italy,
Lithuania, Poland, Bulgaria and Turkey.
• Trial and assess the validity of the intervention through user trials.
• Research suggest they can provide an engaging learning experience
for learners with special education needs (SEN).
• Providing a point of interaction for social skill development.
• They therefore can be a social bridge for learners who find it difficult
to interact with their teachers or peers.
• However, there is a need for trials within existing curriculum and for
longitudinal studies of the robotic intervention.
• Current teaching practice must first be explored in order to assess
how a robot based-pedagogy can be applied within it.
• How diverse are the classes that teachers tackle?
• How do they approach that diversity?
• How do they see a robot-based intervention being adapted to their
• What are the barriers to their implementation?
• Interviews and focus groups conducted with teachers of SEN
learners in the UK.
• Interview protocol aiming to explore the current teaching practice
(class, approach, learning outcomes), suggested use of the robot
and the perceived barriers to adoption.
• For this particular approach the NAO robot was used to encourage
discussion for the suggested use of the robot.
• 20 teachers were interviewed in total.
• Very diverse student group – a range of learning needs that can be
very different from student to student.
“To keep them engaged you plan activities according to their abilities;
some would react better to tactile, explorations of material,
“For the children who struggle more, I present the same material in a
different way to keep them interested”.
Current Practice (2)
• Need adaptable learning outcomes to the needs of the student
• For some, maintaining engagement for an extended period of time
is a clear success measure.
“I see the session as successful if there is a high level of engagement
from the children and if they would behave”.
“For students who can’t write or read it is about how much
engagement they have shown”.
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Current practice (3)
• The use of hands-on, practical teaching is favoured in order to
• Group-based teaching utilised in order to manage larger class sizes.
“Small group work based on the abilities of the student and
• Robot intervention well suited – tactile input, ability to act as a
social mediator and multi-modal input to deal with range of needs.
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Suggested use of the robot
So, robotic activities need to be adaptable to the learning needs of
the student while maintaining engagement at a minimum.
Activity Title: Cause and effect
Description: The robot will execute certain movements , dances and
say things after the students give it the command by pressing a
button (in the tablet), by voice command or any other input that
could trigger the robot’s action(symbols, pictures, sounds).
Student Profile/Involvement: Students with low cognitive abilities,
conceived as an individual activity or as a group activity where other
students can observe and learn from their peers.
Teacher Involvement: Facilitator. Make sure the students are
engaged and leading the group.
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Activity Title: Giving sequential orders to the robot or receiving
orders from the robot.
Description: Program the robot to give it sequential orders following a
set of instructions given to them or receive sequential orders from the
robot. The robot would give instructions to the children. Such as” sit
down, lift your pencil”. It will progressively increase the number of
instructions they have to carry out.
Student Profile/Involvement: Conceived as an individual or group
Teacher Involvement: Facilitating the activity: “Be there for support
but let them interact”
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Activity Title: Turn taking exercise
Description: Turn taking exercises. Playing a conversational game
with the robot where the student has to respect turn taking to
interact successfully with the robot.
Student Profile/Involvement: High functional students, students with
no patience. It would also help students that have problems with
clear speech and will have to make an effort to be understood by the
Teacher Involvement: Facilitator. Lead the interaction, modelling the
interaction and then hand it over to the children. Generally,
controlling problematic behaviour’s during the session.
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• Need for versatility in the robot.
• Accuracy of sensors.
• Control scheme must be accessible to teacher and student.
• Pre-defined learning templates required for quick execution of
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• Expand the interview across partner countries
• Use findings to inform the development of the robot based
pedagogy including tasks and learning scenarios.
• Conduct a longitudinal trial of the intervention to ascertain its
effectiveness as a teaching tool in SEN learning.
• Development of adaptable robotic interface.