Robot teacher speaks 20 languages
NAO, the interactive, customizable robot whose name in Japanese means "honesty," recognizes more than twenty languages. NAO can help train on a variety of learning content, so he’s being increasingly used in schools. In Japan - the land of robots - students learn vocabulary, practice mental arithmetic, and do gymnastic exercises as assigned by the robot. The children are enthusiastic and fully involved. A Japanese study (study of the use of robot teachers at the University of Osaka) concerning the use of NAO reveals that the noise level is significantly lower during lessons with a teacher-robot team.
Robot teachers in Germany and Austria
Robots as assistant teachers have arrived in Germany and Austria as well. With his vast knowledge, NAO supplements the teaching of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in many schools across all age groups. For example, grammar school pupils in Karlsbad, Germany, learn programming with NAO’s assistance, and NAO is also available to pupils for instruction at (vocational high school) HTL Leonding in Upper Austria.
Refugee children learn German from robots
The L2TOR project launched in 2016 (Second Language Tutoring using Social Robots) is designed to teach the new second language to immigrant children from four to six years old using humanoid robots, so that the children can be integrated into the school system as quickly as possible. However, language training with the robots is intended as an individual supplement to, and not a replacement for, existing educational offerings. Clearly, the use of robots creates additional resources, and with a current purchase price of roughly €12,000, NAO will be less expensive than a personal human tutor in the long run.
Poor human-machine interaction
Despite all of this, there are still limits to the quality of human-machine interaction. It functions well enough within the parameters of a child's limited vocabulary. But the artificial intelligence is not capable of understanding the context of a more complex conversation and responding meaningfully and spontaneously. Computer scientists, educators, and linguists are continuously working on the step-by-step improvements toward the perfection of comprehension. NAO should develop quickly in this regard. He’s used in research projects dealing with the issue of human-machine interaction, collecting vast amounts of data. Essential questions are considered, for example: What characterizes human emotions? How can they be recognized with the help of computers, and how can computers themselves learn emotions?