Will the class of tomorrow be provided by an android? At the time of the lack of teachers in some schools and the development of AI, the role of robots in the daily lives of our children is a solution already experienced in the field of education.
“The robot will never replace a teacher, but it can become a good companion,” says Jean-Luc Metaireau, head of education at Softbank Robotics. The company is today at the forefront in this field, with its famous robots Pepper and Nao, of which more than 25,000 units already populate the planet.
Round bun, smiling face, curious look and always talkative, Pepper and Nao do not go unnoticed next to the teacher’s office. And their pace has been particularly studied.
“Their design has been designed so that they are most easily accepted by those around them. Because the more a robot is going to look like a human, the more rejection there is. Nevertheless, it must retain human characteristics (hands, eyes …), so that it remains easy to interact naturally with him. Pepper especially has the ability to attract attention and keep it, an important factor vis-à-vis students, “says Jean-Luc Metaireau.
A SOLUTION TO HELP TEACHING
If for now, Nao intervenes mainly to support the teaching of computer code in different countries, some teachers and students are already taking this Android with ambitious projects. This is for example the case for Pepper who will manage a quiz with the students by asking them questions programmed by the teacher, while students can answer them directly through an application with their smartphones. An example that allows the teacher to know in real time if the whole class is at the same level compared to the previous class.
Some specialized institutions also rely on the Nao robot. A smaller model that plays a valuable role for children with autism. “Nao attracts the curiosity of these children, whose behavior is disinhibited. In addition, a robot can repeat information at will, always on the same tone and without getting upset, “says Jean-Luc Metaireau.
A MORE VERSATILE FUTURE
At the same time, Nao and Pepper benefit from regular updates devised by the teachers of the schools where they live. And it is also the great strength of the robots, which we imagine a future where they will be able to follow the school programs, with a refresh of their knowledge.
“In a second phase, robots will no longer be used only in the context of science-related subjects (maths, programming …). For example, they may be involved in learning modern languages. Further, one can even imagine that the teacher, assisted by a robot, can move away from his classic role within a class, to become more of a coach, who will focus on the difficulties encountered by some students, predicts Jean-Luc Metaireau.
And if already some departmental and regional councils are interested in colleges and high schools, two challenges are still to be met for robots: be accepted by society and provide rich content and adapted.