Tag Archives: teachers

C-3PO: “Robots As Teachers? Oh Dear”

Robots have become an intricate part of our lives, so it’s no surprise that they are now being  prepared to enter the classrooms as teachers of young children.   Currently, researchers at MIT and Yale are focusing on improving  the social cues like intonation, gestures, and facial expressions, of robots to make them more likable to children.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.

C-3PO (l) and R2D2. Photo-DMA Central.

C-3PO (l) and R2D2. Photo-DMA Central.

Excerpt: Coming Soon to a Kindergarten Classroom: Robot Teachers, By Adam Sneed, Slate Magazine

“We’ve been promised for years that robots will soon move from factories into our everyday lives (maybe even white-collar offices), and yet so far, the closest thing we have to Rosie Jetson is the Roomba. In addition to dexterity and the ability to walk, one of the biggest hurdles to personal robotics has been human-machine interaction. For a machine to enter human space, it has to understand certain niceties.(You don’t want a robot chef that can’t tell if you gag when you take a bite of its food, do you?)

Robot teachers. Photo-Scoopit.

Robot teachers. Photo-Scoopit.

And if a robot with social skills can be built, it could have a huge effect on our classrooms. An ideal social robot responds not just to what you say, but to how you say it—factoring in social cues like intonation, gestures, and facial expressions. The robot can then respond with appropriate body language. We take this kind of interaction for granted in science fiction—with C-3PO, for example.

English-teaching robot. Photo Purdue Education.

English-teaching robot. Photo Purdue Education.

We like treating robots as though they are people. Even with today’s simplest robots, researchers have seen study participants give their machines names and carry on one-sided conversations with them. Compare that to the ambivalence people feel about their computer screens (and no, you do not literally love your smartphone) and it’s easy to see the potential for robots to keep people engaged.6. An English-teaching robot. Photo- Boston Globe

Our affinity for robots also appears to affect how we learn from them. Researchers at Yale recently found that people doing cognitive tasks like logic puzzles … learn more effectively when guided by a physical robot than they do with the same help from an on-screen avatar.

The study doesn’t draw conclusions as to why the physical robot was a more effective teacher than its on-screen version, but one guess is that the physical presence of a teaching robot lends it a degree of authority that participants didn’t sense from the digital instructors. Researchers at the University of Delaware are providing safe mobility to children with special needs, Photo- growing your baby.

A National Science Foundation project led by Scassellati, Breazeal and USC professor Maja Mataric aims to push these limits. The team is working to develop robots that can help children with disabilities learn social and cognitive skills. In order to carry out meaningful interactions, though, these robots have to be able to learn on their own so they can understand an individual’s personality traits and social cues.

A Robot in Korean Kindergarten. Photo Scoopit

A Robot in Korean Kindergarten. Photo Scoopit

Juyang Weng, co-founder of Michigan State University’s Embodied Intelligence Laboratory, is studying how robotic learning and cognitive development can look more like human learning in order to strengthen the connection between children and robot teachers…Eventually if a robot can develop its mind, then the robot can be a very close friend of a child,Weng says. The robot can be a teacher in a very fundamental way.” 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Low Intermediate -High Intermediate

Language Skills: Reading, writing, speaking and listening. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.

Time: Approximately 2 hours

Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video.

Objective:  Students will read the article with a focus on new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through discussions, and writing. The language skills practiced will be reading, writing, speaking and listening.

I. Pre-Reading Tasks

 Prediction

Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students use this Pre-reading organizer by Scholastic to assist them in finding the main ideas from the reading.

 Pre-reading Organizer By Scholastic

II. While Reading Tasks

Vocabulary

Word Inference

Directions: Have students use the Word organizer from Enchanted Learning to assist them with new vocabulary.

Color Vocabualry Map by Enchanted Learning

 Sentences:

  1. Robots will soon move from factories into our everyday lives, maybe even white-collar offices.
  2. In addition to dexterity and the ability to walk robots will do more tasks.
  3. An ideal social robot responds not just to what you say, but to how you say it.
  4. Factoring in social cues like intonation, gestures, and facial expressions robots will appear  more human.
  5. The ambivalence people feel about their computer screens is amusing.
  6. Our affinity for robots also appears to affect how we learn from them.
  7. Researchers at Yale recently found that people doing cognitive tasks like logic puzzles are more open to robots.
  8. The study doesn’t draw conclusions as to why the physical robot was a more effective teacher than its on-screen version.
  9. A teaching robot lends the screen a degree of authority.
  10. Creating artificial intelligence… will set a new standard for interactive educational technologies.

 Reading Comprehension

  Sentence Match

Directions: Students  are to complete the sentences from the article by selecting the correct words or phrases.

1. An ideal social robot responds not just to what you say, but to

a- how you say it.

b-the tone you use.

c-how you spell it.

2. The robot can then respond with appropriate

a-speech.

b-sounds.

c-body language.

3. We like treating robots as though they are

a- mechanical friends

b-people.

c-toys.

4. Our affinity for robots also appears to affect how

a-we create them.

b- we learn from them.

c-we gather information from them.

5. The way we divide the world between animate and inanimate objects plays a major role in how

a- we learn.

b- we create robots.

c- we choose robots.

6. The team is working to develop robots that can help children

a- learn their alphabet.

b- learn how to sing.

c-  with disabilities learn social and cognitive skills.

7. In order to carry out meaningful interactions, though, these robots have to be able to learn

a-on their own.

b- through a computer.

c- from a reader.

8.Traditional robots, even ones used in education, aren’t really

a-friendly

b- interactive.

c-sophisticated

9.  Eventually if a robot can develop___then the robot can be a very close friend of a child,

a- feedback,

b- program,

c-its mind,

10. But moving social robots from science fiction to reality promises to be a powerful force for ___.

a-for mankind

b-programmers

c-education.

 Grammar Focus

 Identifying Parts of Speech

Nouns

Directions:  Students are to identify the nouns in the following paragraph, then use as many of the terms as possible  to write their  own paragraph concerning robots.

“We’ve been promised for years that robots will soon move from factories into our everyday lives (maybe even white-collar offices), and yet so far, the closest thing we have to Rosie Jetson is the Roomba. In addition to dexterity and the ability to walk, one of the biggest hurdles to personal robotics has been human-machine interaction. For a machine to enter human space, it has to understand certain niceties.(You don’t want a robot chef that can’t tell if you gag when you take a bite of its food, do you?)”

 

III. Post Reading Tasks

WH-question format

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

WH-How Questions

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion/Writing Questions

Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer the following questions. After, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the discussion topics.

  1. How would you react to a robot teaching your classes?  Would you feel comfortable?  Explain why or why not.
  2. Do you think that young children would feel comfortable with a robot as a teacher? Provide reasons for your answer.
  3. Should robot teachers get a salary the same as non-robot teachers? Explain why or why not.
  4. Can you think of any reasons why robots should “not” be introduced into the classroom?  Provide examples.

IV. Listening Activity 

  Video Clip: Japanese School Tests Robot Teacher

Introduction: “Students at the Kudan Elementary School in downtown Tokyo were told a special teacher would help them with their science class.”

While Listening Exercise

Multiple choice

Directions: Students are to choose the correct response from the ones provided from the video.

1. But few [children] expected the teacher would need___ to help her up to the podium.

a- another teacher.

b-three grown men.

c- a fork-lift.

2. Saya, the substitute teacher, is a___ .

a- robot.

b- computer screen.

c- avatar.

3. Built by Professor Hiroshi Kobayashi of Tokyo University of Science, he says she’s not meant to___.

a- talk to the children.

b- be a baby-sitter.

c- take away the jobs of teachers.

4. Saya may be able to help in schools where___

a- there are many children.

b- there is a shortage of teachers.

c- technology training is needed.

5. “… in some small schools, there are children who do not have the opportunity to come into contact with___

a- new technology.

b-new friend.

c-new teachers.

6. Most students were___by the robot.

a-afraid

b-angry

c-mesmerized

7. One student remarked that “ “Its so much more fun than____

a- playing sports.”

b-doing homework.”

c-regular classes.”

8. Another student said that “ “It was great seeing the robot___

a-teaching.”

b- moving and speaking.”

c- asking questions.”

9. But the class teacher was not convinced Saya was ___

a-to play with the children.

b- stand on her own.

c-ready to go full time.

10. The___of the children did not stop after the class.

a-curiosity

b- noise

c-anger

Post Listening

Directions: With your group members, make up questions that you would like to ask the speakers.

ANSWER KEY-Teacher robots.

Category: Education, Technology | Tags: ,