Could a Robot Be Your Next Teacher?

Could a Robot Be Your Next Teacher?

Robots aren’t just for movie uprisings or vacuuming floors. According to The New York Times, researchers at labs around the world are developing and testing highly-programmed robots that can engage people and teach them simple skills, including household tasks, vocabulary or even play Simon Says.

So far, the teaching has been very basic, delivered mostly in experimental settings – and they’re not perfect yet. But with high-tech skills like voice recognition, imagine the possibilities. Researchers are aiming for the robots to be highly informed instructors that could teach foreign languages or be used in repetitive therapies used to treat developmental problems like autism. Robots could become teachers’ aides in classrooms – and South Korea has already begun “hiring” hundreds of robots and experimenting with versions that could teach English.

But the robots don’t come without some controversy and debate. “I worry that if kids grow up being taught by robots and viewing technology as the instructor,” said Mitchel Resnick, head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “they will see it as the master.”

What do you think? Are robots a good thing or a bad thing? I’m not envisioning some kind of robot takeover, but I do think that kids benefit from real human interaction in the classroom (and using robots would take away jobs from real people, right?).

While using robots to take the place of teachers might not be the best idea, many teachers are successfully incorporating robotics into their science, technology, math and engineering lessons. For more information, check out the STREAM conference.