Artificial Intelligence in the Classroom

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Rebecca
11/08/12
CCI
Professor DeFrank
Essay #2 Option 3
Tentative Final
Robots Ruling the Classroom

Dear Parents/Guardians:10/26/12
The Board of Education and Administration of Holland Elementary School have agreed on a decision that will come into effect at the beginning of the Fall 2013 school year. As well as introducing many of our newly acquired teachers to the classrooms, we will also introduce a new artificial intelligence that our students have never experienced before. This will come in the form of robotic instructors who will assist our current teachers with their work and teach other lessons on their own. This may come as a shock to some, but I am extremely confident in this decision. Artificial intelligence coming to the classroom this year will have a positive impact on our school system with increased teaching strategy to achieve a higher level of learning.

Robots with artificial intelligence teaching students in the classroom is something that may seem to some like a science fiction fantasy, but the reality of the matter is that robotic helpers, teachers, and playmates are part of a booming technology that has already started flourishing in other countries. Articles from the New York Times have informed us on the hundreds of robots South Korea has already hired to assist teachers, and teach certain subjects on their own (Benedict Carey and John Markoff Students, Meet Your New Teacher, Mr. Robot Para 10). The robots they use are usually computer screened faces with bodies that have arms and legs, allowing them to be entirely mobile on their own. The robots use motion tracking and speech recognition to act human like. This makes them able to engage people in conversation, play games, complete simple tasks, and teach simple skills to others (Carey and Markoff Para 8). Adam Sneed, a researcher for The Future Tense Program explains in his article Coming Soon to a Kindergarten Classroom: Robot Teachers how robots give realistic human-like responses to social cues given by people in their surroundings (Para 6). They also understand the concept of personal space, and when approaching people, they know to stop before anyone’s personal space is invaded (Carey and Markoff, Para 19). The robots are programmed to act as if they have feelings similar to those of children. If the robot is damaged purposely by the students, it will begin to cry. Children react to this by feeling very sorry and backing off right away. If the robot continues to cry, the students offer it peace as they would with another child. Experiments that have shown this in the past are a display of the strong bond students can make with the robots (Carey and Markoff Para 25). Robots with artificial intelligence can engage children through many ways that are subconscious to humans. They hold eye contact with the children and use physical rhythm to stay involved with them. For example, if a child is swaying from side to side, the robot will start to sway as well. The robots mirror the children as a game to connect with them, gain their friendship, and build a sense of trust. If a student lifts his or her arm, the robot will lift their arm as well. The robots will also play vise-versa, letting the children mimic their moves (Carey and Markoff Para 4). Robots also show a large understanding of tasks that are explained to them. In a study done at the Georgia Institute of Technology, a robot was told where certain objects belong in a classroom and then was instructed to put them all away. When the robot came across a toy that it was unsure about, it stared at the toy in hesitation to pick it up. The robot’s instructor asked if it had any questions, and the robot replied by asking where the toy belongs. When it was explained that the green toy belongs in the green bin, the robot nodded its head, put the toy in the bin, and said “makes sense” (Carey and Markoff Para 45-47). This is an example of how the robots that will be incorporated...
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