1 University of Macedonia (GREECE)
2 Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN22 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 9870-9879
ISBN: 978-84-09-42484-9
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2022.2379
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
Telepresence robots (TR) enable people to be represented by a mobile robot at a distant location and audio-visually interact with people and the environment around the robot. The user of the TR remotely controls and drives the TR in its environment as well as interacts with people using microphones, speakers, cameras, screens, and other facilities of the TR. TR have been used in various applications areas such as healthcare, eldercare, office, and education. For example, homebound children (e.g., due to illness or disability) can attend school through a TR (e.g., Ahumeda-Newhart & Olson, 2019) or a remote teacher can teach students by controlling a TR that is located in front of them (Edwards et al., 2016). Previous studies have shown the potential of TR in various educational subjects such as informatics (e.g., Dimitoglou, 2019), engineering (e.g., Fitter et al., 2020), science (e.g., Schouten et al., 2022), special education (e.g., Zoder-Martell et al., 2021), languages (e.g., Liao et al., 2019), and more.

However, most previous studies examined specific cases of introducing TR in education. So, the current study aims at systematically recording the experiences and perceptions of TR users at different countries and various educational institutes. A qualitative research study was implemented with regard to a European project on TR in education. The team conducted 19 interviewees with experienced users in the integration of TR in education across five countries.

At the beginning of each interview, the interviewer asked the consent and the demographics of the interviewee. Then the interviewer asked the interviewee 28 questions about the interviewee’s practices and experiences with TR in education as well as his/her perceptions about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and obstacles of TR in education. There were also questions regarding their awareness about any national or international policies with respect to TR in education. Finally, the interviewees made recommendations for the effective integration of TR in education. The duration of each interview was 60 minutes.

Then the transcripts of the interviews were analyzed. It was found that the most common case was that of a remote teacher teaching and advising students via a TR. The most frequently mentioned TR features included the following: interactivity as TR strength; engagement, participation, and collaboration as TR opportunities; low sound quality as TR weakness; difficulties to overcome obstacles (i.e., elevators, doors, stairs) as well as lack of WiFi everywhere as TR challenges. The interviewees were not aware of any national or international policies about TR in Education. Finally, they made recommendations in a number of issues. These results will be useful for educational policy makers, educational institutes administrators, educators, students and their parents, as well as manufacturers of TR.
Human-Computer Interaction, Interviews, Mobile, Remote Learning, Remote Teaching, Social Presence, Telepresence Robots.