1 University of Macedonia (GREECE)
2 St Margaret College (MALTA)
3 Danube University Krems (AUSTRIA)
4 Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN22 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 9936-9944
ISBN: 978-84-09-42484-9
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2022.2397
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
Recently, there is an intensive interest regarding Telepresence Robots (TR). A TR enables audio and visual interaction between its remote driver and persons around the TR. The remote driver feels like be present physically and socially at the location where the TR is moving around.

TR have been used in education at all levels:
i) Pre-Kindergarten (e.g., Burbank et al., 2021);
ii) Elementary/primary school (e.g., Ahumeda-Newhart & Olson, 2019; Lee & Han, 2019);
iii) Secondary/high school (e.g., Botev & Lera, 2020);
iv) University (e.g., De Jong, 2021; Dimitoglou, 2019).

Various communities of stakeholders such as teachers, students, administrators, support staff, manufacturers of robots and others are involved in the introduction and adoption of TR in education. In order to effectively integrate TR in education, the views and perspectives of different stakeholders should be taken into account.

For this reason, the partners of a European project on TR in education conducted twelve (12) focus groups discussions across five countries. A total of 66 persons in schools and universities gave their perspectives regarding TR in education. Each focus group lasted for about 90 minutes. Initially, the participants provided their demographics and their consent to be videorecorded. Then the moderator guided and stimulated the discussions through a series of 25 questions.

Participants mentioned most frequently the mobility as a strength of TR; the sense of presence, belonging, and being part of the class as opportunities for TR in education; the battery life as a weakness of TR; and privacy issues (e.g., risk of illegal recording) as challenges for TR in education. Therefore, they asked for policies with respect to privacy, security and data protection. They pointed out the need for training on how to use TR as well as for extra desirable TR functionalities.

The results of this study could inform the development of educational policies about the use of TR in education; the required infrastructure in educational institutes; the various educational options for integrating TR in the teaching practice; the required functionalities of TR for successful users’ acceptance, and more.

[1] Ahumada-Newhart, V.,; Olson, J. S. (2019). Going to school on a robot: Robot and user interface design features that matter. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 26(4), 1-28.
[2] Botev, J.; Rodríguez Lera, F.J. (2021). Immersive Robotic Telepresence for Remote Educational Scenarios. Sustainability, 13, 4717.
[3] Burbank, M. D.; Goldsmith, M. M.; Bates, A. J.; Spikner, J.; Park, K. (2021). Teacher Observations Using Telepresence Robots: Benefits and Challenges for Strengthening Evaluations. Journal of Educational Supervision, 4(1), 68.
[4] De Jong, D. (2021). Telepresence Robots: A Phenomenological Study of Perceptions of Graduate Students and Professors. Journal of Higher Education Theory & Practice, 21(5).
[5] Dimitoglou, G. (2019). Telepresence: evaluation of robot stand-ins for remote student learning. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, 35(3), 97-111.
[6] Lee, H.; Han, J. (2019). Analysis on Acceptance and Use of Technology for Elementary School Teachers in Telepresence Robot-assisted Learning. Journal of The Korean Association of Information Education, 23(6), 599-606.
Focus Group, Human Computer Interaction, Mobility, Privacy, Remote Learning, Remote Teaching, Sense of Presence, Telepresence Robot.