How robots are changing education

By Linda Schmidt, Fox5NY

Imagine seeing a robot coming down the hallway in your school. Students at Saint Bartholomew in East Brunswick, New Jersey, see it every day. A robot called VGo enables Tyler Knurek, 13, to attend class and be with his friends while he is physically at home. Tyler has cancer. He has been unable to go to school because of his treatments.

His classmates and school raised $8,000 to buy the robot so Tyler wouldn’t miss out on his school year. Tyler says it is very cool that they did that for him.

Using his iPad, he can see and hear his classmates and teachers. In this class, they are reading out loud. They can see and hear Tyler through the robot. Tyler is able to maneuver the robot with his iPad. He says the robot helps him feel like he is a part of his friends and teachers in class.

Experts say that you can expect to see robots in all shapes and sizes playing a major role in education in the next 5 to 8 years.

Henny Admoni is a robot researcher at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. She says robots can be used to tutor children. For example, a child can go to school to learn English as a second language and then come home and practice with a robot. She says robots can also help children with special needs such as autism. A robot could help the child with making eye contact, learning voice tones, and being more comfortable with the outside world. She adds that robots will not replace humans but fill in the gaps. Each robot will have a specific skill.