(Photo courtesy of Latitude’s research: Robots @ School)
Thanks to Prof. Michael Horn I’ve spent the past four weeks learning all about what happens when robots meet people! From toy dinosaurs to ‘bots that are highly expressive and classified as “sociable” - it is incredible to see how people from a range of ages interact with such technology. By trying to re-create a human-esk interaction with a robot it really makes you reflect on what makes humans, well, inherently human.
By far the most helpful articles I’ve read so far has been a study by the folks at http://latd.com called Robots @ School (downloadable here: http://latd.tv/Latitude-Robots-at-School-Findings.pdf). By asking kids to describe a world in which robots were staples in their learning environment - they really dug into how kids perceive robotic interaction. So what did they find?
Kids blur the lines between learning and play with robots. They see them as sources of empowerment for higher academic achievement. They look to robots to help adults see past their spelling errors and sloppy handwriting to the crux of their ideas. For kids robots aren’t foreign pieces of scary technology, they’re friends with personalities and a desire to facilitate learning through play.
It’s always nice to get validation like this that lets you know your doing something right!