A remotely operated robot as a research tool to study the effects of different roles for successful collaborative learning


In collaborative learning situations, remotely operated robots can be used to deliver the same information to different groups, so that we can explore the roles of partners in collaboration. Using this technique, we have tested 25 collaborative learning cases with eighty 5th and 6th graders on science topics. Even though the basic script for running these experimental classes was kept constant and the children learned successfully from the first case, we have found that the operators’ behavior changed over the course. For the first nine cases, the robots were operated as “a moderator.” In the following eight cases, the operators mixed this style with operations where the robot acted more like an equally capable peer. Observing some success for soliciting more active collaboration by this mode of operation, in the recent eight cases, the operators have begun to explore different possibilities of “kids” roles.

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