Robots have long been a staple of science fiction literature and movies, but recently robots have made it into our everyday lives. From industrial robots to Roombas, Alexa and Siri, it is clear that the robots aren’t coming – they are already here, in our homes and in our hands. Reactions have ranged from the extremes of hype to horror. When it comes to the use of robots in education, the situation is very much the same. Like other technologies introduced into educational settings, such as learning management systems, or iPads, robots are following a hype cycle concomitant with an artificial intelligence boom. In order to ensure that educational benefits are realised, we need to navigate the terrain very carefully, avoiding costly inflated expectations and disillusionment. Three significant reviews of the literature pertaining to the use of robots in education have been conducted in the last 22 years: Lees & Lepage (1996), Benitti (2012) and Mubin, Stevens, Shahid, Al Mahmud, & Dong (2013). Considering the pace of change in the field of artificial intelligence and robotics alongside calls for (and marketing of) the introduction of these technologies into teaching and learning contexts, this session will outline the findings from a critical review of the literature conducted this year on robots in education. The purpose of the review was to inform the design of a research project which is in the process of being set up at the Institute for Education at Bath Spa University to investigate the pedagogical potential for the use of specifically humanoid robots across all levels of education. Some of the insights emerging from the review concern the ways in which research about robots in education is being framed, how students and teachers are being positioned in relation to the research, and where the research is being published. I am particularly interested in how these issues are shaping the discussion about robots in education: which avenues of enquiry are being opened up, and, perhaps more importantly, which conversations have not yet started, or which are being closed down?
Session content: evaluation and reflection
I would like to spark a conversation in advance of the conference by creating a Twitter hashtag associated with my session. In this way learning technologists from different contexts and perspectives will be able to consider these and other emergent questions in a format that extends beyond the time and space of the conference and that has the potential to become a shared resource for those interested in the future of robots in education. The session will present the results of the literature review and engage participants in discussion on key questions emerging from the review.
Benitti, F. (2012). Exploring the educational potential of robotics in schools: A systematic review. Computers & Education, 58(3), pp.978-988.
Lees, D. and Lepage, P. (1996). Robots in Education: The Current State of the Art. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 24(4), pp.299-320.
Mubin, O., Stevens, C., Shahid, S., Mahmud, A. and Dong, J. (2013). A Review of the Applicability of Robots in Education. Technology for Education and Learning, 1(1).
Resources for participants
Hicks, K. (2016). Robots in Education: What’s Here and What’s Coming |Edudemic. [online] Edudemic.com. Available at http://www.edudemic.com/robots-education-whats-coming/ [Accessed 27 February 2018].
Vasagar, J. (2017). How robots are teaching Singapore’s kids. [online] Ft.com. Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/f3cbfada-668e-11e7-8526-7b38dcaef614 [Accessed 3 March 2018].
Wakefield, J. (2017). Robots and drones take over classrooms. [online] BBC News. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-38758980 [Accessed 27 February 2018].