Robotics is becoming an integral part of everyone’s life. In almost every industry, from healthcare to agriculture to education, nearly every industry has benefitted from robotics applications. There are many benefits of robotics, including increased efficiency, increased productivity, minimized cost of production, the safety of the human workers, etc. Applications of robotics in the education sector are still not exploited in the way they should be. While smart monitors for class presentations are now widely used in many countries, robots in education are an idea that has not been fully implemented but is still under the experimental stages in most parts of the world.
What is a Robotic Teacher?
A robotic teacher is an essentially humanoid robot that mimics humans and is built so that their physical features resemble that of human beings.
Robotic teachers are robots that give lessons. They try to create an engaging environment to stay on their toes. This helps them learn better and retain information much better than humans.
The use of robots in the classroom is becoming more popular as companies try to improve productivity, reduce costs, and offer alternatives for both students and teachers alike. Eventually, we can expect the emergence of some universal education system which will follow these trends by using technology to put the student at the center of the learning process.
Incorporating human learning features into robotics can allow robots to deliver integrated knowledge to students studying in schools, colleges, or universities. Using humanoid robots in classrooms is considered a step above telepresence, which means teachers can remotely stay connected to students with the help of a robot. However, in this scenario, a teacher can participate in a learning session by presenting virtually through a display mechanism.
When one thinks over a virtual presence teaching students instead of a human, one question that arises is how do these robots work? To answer this, there is a speech recognition software installed in the robots which helps them interpret what their human counterpart is trying to convey. They are also equipped with projectors to discuss the subject matter.
Special Characteristics of a Robotic Teacher
Some characteristics of Robotic Teachers are mentioned hereunder.
Compared to human teachers, robotic teachers are more cost-effective in the long run. Robotic teachers require equipment and regular maintenance that no doubt is costly. However, these expenses are a one-time thing. Once you acquire the robot, you don’t need to bear everyday salaries and bonuses. Even the maintenance required is usually yearly and not monthly.
2. Less emotive
Several students suffer from disorders like anxiety, depression, autism, etc. Some are too timid about expressing themselves openly. Some students also suffer from crippling performance anxiety and embarrassment and feel uncomfortable performing in front of people show and feeling real emotions. Instead of interacting with a human teacher, talking with a robot can be less emotive. Thus it provides a potentially helpful bridge to conversational improvement, less anxiety, and more positive attitudes to learning.
3. Access to Wider Information
Robots possess a vast knowledge base. Given that robots are programmed to enable them to deliver their teaching roles, you can input the information you want to be transferred to the children in the class into the robot without limitation. Also, they are typically programmed with updated information. Therefore they can deliver students the latest methodologies about any sector.
Dealing with hundreds of children in one day can be very stressful and tiring. Hence, there are times when teachers lose their cool when trading with teachers. Every child learns at a different pace, and sometimes teachers can get impatient dealing with children who learn at a slower pace. The robots cannot lose their cool at any point in their teaching time. Therefore, they do not have feelings and cannot feel the same as human teachers. Hence, they cannot become impatient or intolerant with students.
While teachers are forced to deliver the majority of learning in a whole-class setting, artificial intelligence in the form of robotic teachers can provide tailored learning, carefully evaluating every response of every student, which is not easy to do in the presence of a human teacher. AI can offer almost unlimited possibilities in identifying students’ strengths and interests and building on them.
6. Being Unbiased
No matter how much we try to reduce it, some bias and discrimination can always sneak their way in. Maybe a teacher feels a particular way about a student, or a student feels uncomfortable around a specific teacher and thinks she behaves differently around them. Well, robots do not have emotions and feelings. No robot teacher will show favoritism in class or discriminate between students in any way. Moreover, a robot teacher can teach according to the needs of the individual students. It is nearly impossible for a human teacher to cater to everyone’s individual needs in a big classroom.
Human Teachers Vs. Robotic Teachers
So now that we know, the unique characteristics and advantages of robotic teachers, let us see if it is advantageous to replace a human teacher with robotic teachers.
In a classroom dynamic, the role of a teacher is not just only imparting knowledge to the students. They are entrusted with molding the future generation and passing on values that children readily imbibe. Though teachers may impart the wrong kind of values, that is no reason to turn a blind eye to the millions of teachers who exemplify great qualities and have brought out generations of excellent human beings for ages. Teachers also act as great social catalysts for socially awkward students. A machine could never do that because it would never understand the subtle nuances of interpersonal relationships. Some teachers act as substitute mothers, especially in the lower classes. With robot teachers, children will never establish the human connection possible to have with human teachers.
Hence, while each has its pros and cons, the best-case scenario here is to use both. Let the human teachers bring the human touch in their teachings while the robot teacher delivers the content efficiently. Also, check the growing importance of robotics in different fields.