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Robots Becoming Supplemental Aids to Students' Writing Techniques

While educators can breathe a sigh of relief their jobs aren’t going to robots,  a team of Swiss researchers have developed a new way for children to learn by teaching a robot.

“The NAO CoWriter Project helps students learn handwriting by teaching techniques to a 23-inch humanoid robot,” according to D. Frank Smith of EdTechMagazine.

“The open-source app walks students through writing each letter, and then the robot performs its own handwriting on a tablet. Students then get a chance to correct the performance, and the robot gets a chance to improve its work.”

The robots are designed to initially write the words incorrectly. Students then proceed to correct the robot via their tablet at which point the robot will correct their writing skills.

The idea is for students to learn through teaching. Deanna Hood of the CHILI Lab EPFL says that even the worst student in the class has a chance to take on the role of a teacher. The intentions are to motivate the student to be a better teacher that in turn leads them to bettering their writing techniques.

“The team’s creation won first prize in the 2015 Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence student-video competition,” reports Smith.

“The CoWriter system is still in a prototype stage and is being tested on a range of students with varying handwriting skills, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.”

Smith does include the fact that robots are becoming more popular in the classroom. His two examples include, a robot dog named Karel geared toward facilitating in coding lessons and a new line of robots named Sphero that students can get to perform all types of tasks.

In each instant the robots act as aids but never as if they are smarter than the user. Educators have yet another supplemental tool at their disposal as technology continues to thrive in classrooms.

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor

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