Scientists are trying to creat the world’s first robot teacher with the capacity to respond to a child’s moods and emotions in the classroom. The, personal, empathetic and human qualities thet make a good teacher would first be analysed before being programmed into the robot.
Working one-to-one with machine, children would be able to communicate through a touchscreen on their desks. The robot would gather information via sensors and cameras, allowing it to recognise emotions using clues such as the childs facial expressions and body language, to cross-reference against its database. Although the project is intended to find new ways of teaching and learning – and will bigin by training the robot to teach geography to pupils aged between 11 and 13 – the implications of endowing machines with the ability to recognise and respond to emotions are far wider. The unconventional teacher will be able to sense when one of its pupil is upset or struggling to cope. It would then provide the appropriate comfort and support.
If all goes to plan, the robot will be able to speak and move its head and arms, assess how well each child is doing and adapt its teaching style or material appripriatly, just as its human equivalent should.
Some teachers have reacted with scepticism to this project, which is called Emote, saying that a large parte of what makes a teacher effective is the building up of trust. Children are naturally curious and it is through conversations with their teachers that congnitive and emotional skills develop. A robot cannot know the child in the same way as a parent or teacher. Others say that we should not be sacred of using new tecnologies to widen professional expertise in order to enhance teaching methods and improve the life chances of young people
– Liz Lightfoot, Sunday Times