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Australian Students to Have Robots as Classmates


Mebourne: South Australian school children will soon be having robots as a part of a research programme conducted on how robots can contribute in primary and secondary school curriculum to improve classroom learning experience.

The three-year research project conducted by Swinburne University of Technology will see the trial of NAO robots – humanoid robots developed by Aldebaran Robotics in two South Australian schools. The robots are developed by a French robotics company.

The robots will be under the constant surveillance of the teachers. The behaviour pattern of the robots in educating the children and their engagement in class will be monitored by the teachers who will be completing regular online survey on that basis. Teachers will be asked about the challenges of using robots in the classroom.

"Robots are becoming a part of society. It is the responsibility of Australian schools to prepare their students with the skills needed for the future," said lead researcher, Swinburne's Dr Therese Keane.

Robots have been used in schools occasionally but there no findings that suggest how they can be used to assist both teachers and students. This kind of classroom research is conducting for the first time.

"Through the three-year research programme, we hope to identify the 'best practice' way that robots can be implemented into school curriculum. We want the robots to improve classroom learning, not simply be a novelty or distraction," Keane said.

Read:​ Students Beware! Now, Schools Use Drones to Catch Exam Cheaters

With the introduction of robots in school curriculum, students will be getting a golden opportunity to access coding and programming.

"One of the key features of the NAO robots is that they can be programmed to talk, dance and move around by the students using software on the computer," Keane said.

"Coding has been identified as a necessary skill for the next generation of workers. These robots give the students an accessible and fun way to practice and improve their coding skills," Keane said.

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