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Robots are our friends

| September 6, 2013 | 0 Comments

Latitude, an international research consultancy helping clients harness the possibilities of the internet, recently released the latest in its Kids Innovation Discovery Series (KIDS).

The multiphase innovation study, published in collaboration with the LEGO® Learning Institute and Project Synthesis – an Australia-based ideas consultancy – and entitled ‘Robots @ School’ asked children across the world to illustrate and write a story that answers this question: “What would happen if robots were a part of your everyday life – at school and beyond?”

The study involved nearly 350 students aged between eight and 12 years from Australia, France, Germany, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Researchers found that children in that age group are deeply accepting of technology, as it is has been ‘embedded’ into their lives from birth. Children involved in the study also naturally assumed that technology exists to benefit them.

Sixty-four per cent of the participants expressed a view of robots as “humanoid peers that could speak and communicate with ease and came ‘pre-loaded’ with smart technology”.

Seventy-five per cent of the children surveyed also anticipated that robots would be learning mentors, able to assist them with their homework or other school projects in ways their parents could not. Says Ian Schulte, Latitude’s director of technology and business development, who led the study: “Robots support and encourage, but don’t ostracise kids for wrong answers or unconventional thinking.”

Latitude researchers also picked up that today’s children are happy to blur the lines between play and learning. As one respondent from Australia says: “Larry [the robot] said to me, ‘Look, maths is an important part of your life and you will be using it a lot in the future. If you don’t do maths now with me, I won’t be a close friend.’ I said, ‘OK I will do it,’ so we raced each other with multiplication and he won but I got a better score than I got at school. Every time we did it I got better and started to kind of like maths. When we finished, I said to Larry, ‘Thanks for caring about me.’”

Category: e-Education, Spring 2013

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