From: The New York Times

The Secret to a Good Robot Teacher

The New York Times:

Why is educational technology such a disappointment?

In recent years, parents and schools have been exposing children to a range of computer-mediated instruction, and adults have been turning to “brain training” apps to sharpen their minds, but the results have not been encouraging. A six-year research project commissioned by the Department of Education examined different cybertechnology programs across thousands of students in hundreds of schools and found little to no evidence that they improved academic performance.

Unfortunately, it appears the same goes for cognitive-training programs. Lumos Labs, the company behind Lumosity, one of the leading programs in this area, agreed to pay $2 million to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission that it misled customers with claims that Lumosity improved people’s performance in school and at work.

To investigate the importance such social cues might play in learning from technology, we recently conducted a study with 4- to 7-year-old children from schools in Boston. The children listened to a story read by a robot that looked like a cute plush creature with an animated face that allowed for emotional expressions and eye and mouth movements. For half the children, the robot made use of these capabilities, responding to events in the story and to the children’s answers to its questions in a manner that expressed typical social and emotional cues.

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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