HUMANOID ROBOTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY ON APPLYING THE NAO ROBOT AS AN EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY IN BUSINESS STUDIES IN HYBRID SETTINGS
Berlin University of Applied Sciences (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Conference name: 16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-8 March, 2022
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:Current research on applying humanoid robots in education provides some promising evidence about enhancing learning experiences of students through human-robot interaction. So far humanoid robots have been used as educational tools mostly in primary and secondary education. Applications of humanoid robots in higher education are still scarce and little is known about the perceptions of students towards humanoid robots as educational technologies. The study presented in this paper was designed to answer the question: How undergraduate business students perceive a humanoid robot as an educational technology and how do they evaluate the interaction with a humanoid robot in hybrid learning settings.
The exploratory case study presented in this paper describes the application of a humanoid robot NAO during a hybrid class in business studies and explored how students interacted with the robot during the class, how they perceived the robot as an educational technology and how they perceived the interaction with the robot in small student teams. NAO robots, developed by SoftBank Robotics, are humanoid robots with a multimodal interface which uses touch, speech, gestures and eye gaze for interaction which is similar to human experiences of interaction in the physical world. The perceptions of students of the NAO robot itself were assessed using items from the Human-Robot Interaction Evaluation Scale (HRIES). The interaction with the NAO robot was assessed using a Rapport Scale by Gratch et al. (2007). Students participated in a one hour robot experiment which included the participation in the online survey during the class (on campus and online). The robot experiment was a hybrid event with 15 students in business studies participating in the experiment on the campus, and 25 students participating online via the web-conferencing tool Zoom. The NAO robot was applied as Scrum Master in the Agile Project Management course in the third semester of the bachelor program Digital Business. From the cohort of students participating in the experiment, 27 responded to the online survey. The results of the study show that students positively assess a humanoid robot as an educational technology and perceive the NAO robot as a friendly, funny, respectful and trustworthy team facilitator. The results also indicate that humanoid robots may be helpful for enhancing student engagement, with a majority of students assessing the interaction with the robot as interesting, exciting and motivating. The paper ends with suggestions for further exploration of the use of humanoid robots in higher education and recommendations for further research.
Keywords: Robots, humanoid robots, educational technologies, innovation, hybrid class, higher education.