Robot Kindergarten Teachers Are Here
Schools are starting to use “robotic” teachers to help teach children, but is it the best method for learning?
By nowproducerdave on August 30, 2018
It’s almost like something out of a 1970s era sci-fi novel, but it’s a reality now. In China, there are kindergarten classes that have robotic teachers. Not a rubber-flesh covered metal skeleton, but a more cartoonish, friendly, plastic version.
It’s not a sentient being, and there doesn’t seem to be any sort of artificial intelligence happening here. The robots are part of a learning program, and allow children to interact with the device. It’s called Keeko, and it’s mission is to make kids think and solve problems. An example lesson, Keeko is telling the story about a Prince lost in the desert. The assignment is for the children to lay a path out, using mats the robot recognises, to find its way out of the desert. As the story unfolds, children are given clues about where to build the path, and the robot continues the lesson.
The robot has a screen for a face, and when correct answers are given, the robot “reacts with delight, its face flashing heart-shaped eyes.” Apparently the children love it. A teacher who worked on the robot project says that the children really “take to” the robot very well. “When children see Keeko with its round head and body, it looks adorable and children love it. So when they see Keeko, they almost instantly take to it,” she says.
The robots are in over 600 schools already, and show no signs of going away any time soon. Are you ok with schools using tech like this to teach children? Is it something we have to embrace these days, or would you rather see a more “traditional” method of teaching with emphasis on human interaction?
It sort of reminds me of the scene from the movie “Wall-E” with the babies in the classroom: