Social Robotics to support COVID-19 LeArning disabilities

The COVID-19 measures have a major impact on how children worldwide receive education. Dutch children also had to make the switch in the first lockdown from physical to digital education. During the second lockdown, education and interaction between teachers and students again took place primarily through screens. 

The purpose of this application is to build on an already existing application by (further) developing social robotics as a learning tool to support teachers and students in the upper grades, namely group 6 and 7, of primary education to increase insight into accumulated learning deficits by COVID-19 measures in the mathematics education of students. In addition to gaining insights, the social robotics and associated computational modules will also be used to support teachers in providing computational instruction in a motivating way to students. 

The broad consortium, consisting of elementary schools, teacher training, municipalities, robotics company, colleges and universities, allows for an iterative cycle already during the project so that adjustments to the social robot can be made during the life of the project. With this approach, the outcomes can be integrated into the already available infrastructure of elementary school for the use of social robotics in the learning process after the end of the project without too much additional development time. 

This research will provide insights into 1) how the diagnostic and educational function of social robotics works in upper elementary school mathematics education; 2) the use and implementation of social robotics to reduce COVID-19 learning deficits in upper elementary school; 3) how technological innovations such as social robotics are used by teachers in the learning process of their students and whether they perceive a facilitating role of the robot in this process; and 4) the emancipating role that innovations in education can have in reducing the negative consequences such as COVID-19 learning disadvantages. 

Stay tuned for the latest results!