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Interactions with an Empathic Robot Tutor in Education: Students’ Perceptions Three Years Later

Chapter in book
Authors Sofia Serholt
Published in Artificial Intelligence and Inclusive Education: Speculative Futures and Emerging Practices
Pages 77 - 99
ISBN 978-981-13-8160-7
ISSN 2366-1658
Publisher Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.
Place of publication Singapore
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Pages 77 - 99
Language en
Keywords Child–Robot Interaction; Emotion recognition; Robots; Education; Special needs; Students’ perceptions
Subject categories Ethics, Human Aspects of ICT, Educational Sciences, Interaction Technologies


In 2015, and three years prior to the writing of this chapter, a three-month field study of a humanoid empathic robot tutor was conducted at a primary school in Sweden with children in grades 4–6. At that time, video analysis of the children’s interactions with the robot revealed that the children responded socially to the robot, but also that breakdowns often occurred during the interactions. Studies of robots in education are typically considered complete when the trial ends, which means that lasting or long-term implications of the child–robot relationship are seldom explored. The aim of this chapter is to explore children’s retrospective perceptions of the child–robot relationship in an educational setting. In a follow-up study at the school in question, the children responded to a survey and participated in discussion groups in which they were asked about their relationships with the robot, their recollections of breakdowns and how this has affected their normative perspectives of robots, as well as their views on robots in relation to the notion of inclusive education. A key finding in this study is that, when compared to their peers without robot experience, the students had become more critical towards the idea of emotion recognition in robots.

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