Social Robots in Educational Contexts: Developing an Application in Enactive Didactics

Hagen Lehmann, Pier Giuseppe Rossi


Due to advancements in sensor and actuator technology robots are becoming more and more common in everyday life. Many of the areas in which they are introduced demand close physical and social contact. In the last ten years the use of robots has also increasingly spread to the field of didactics, starting with their use as tools in STEM education. With the advancement of social robotics, the use of robots in didactics has been extended also to tutoring situations in which these “socially aware” robots interact with mainly children in, for example, language learning classes. In this paper we will give a brief overview of how robots have been used in this kind of settings until now. As a result it will become transparent that the majority of applications are not grounded in didactic theory. Recognizing this shortcoming, we propose a theory driven approach to the use of educational robots, centred on the idea that the combination of enactive didactics and social robotics holds great promises for a variety of tutoring activities in educational contexts. After defining our “Enactive Robot Assisted Didactics” approach, we will give an outlook on how the use of humanoid robots can advance it. On this basis, at the end of the paper, we will describe a concrete, currently on-going implementation of this approach, which we are realizing with the use of Softbank Robotics’ Pepper robot during university lectures.


Social Robotics, Education, Enactive Didactics, Technology Enhanced Learning

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Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society | ISSN (online) 1971 - 8829 | ISSN (paper) 1826 - 6223 © 2017 Je-LKS - Italian e-Learning Association (SIe-L).