November 23, 2012

Robots Being Used As Teachers?

There’s only so many times I can call science awkward in a day.

Clearly I haven’t gauged my limit yet. How many of us still remember those teachers in grade school that actually made learning an engaging experience? I still recall my favorite teacher from the ninth grade reviewing for six straight weeks on The Lord of the Rings. If you are as pathetically nerdy as I am then you’ll understand why that is so awesome.

Ms. Lyndrup was a very strange case: Never gave out extra credit, nor gave the slightest clue that she might possibly enjoy you more than the kid behind me who could barely read. But Ms. Lyndrup was as passionate about English literature Stephen Hawking-and I will bet you anything she could beat him in a staring contest.

Go on.

Try me.

She harbored an aspect of teaching that sadly most professors and instructors of the 21st century seem to lack-an actual interest in connecting with children. In some areas of the world such as India and Africa, professors are almost like Jesus! Greatly respected, highly renowned and thought of as the true gift bearers of tomorrow. They’re practically in charge of our children’s imaginations!

So what have they thought of next? Well, researchers at the University Wisconsin-Madison have created a robot who’s central preoccupation and programming revolves around getting an actual reaction out of children’s attention span when faced with boring and dull moments in lessons. And unlike the dogmatic instructors, the robot has been created with no anger and every bit of a tendency to accomplish a mission of learning!

In an article that you can check out here, all the details of this terrifying and fascinating scientific breakthrough are revealed.

As previously stated, the robot’s goal is to retain the child’s learning capacity by issuing signals when faced with the parameters that highlight boredom in the child’s experience. When faced with these moments of boredom, the robot issues signals to wake up that particular part of the child’s brain. For example, if when requesting feedback, and the answer of the students aren’t to the liking of the teacher’s standards, the teacher speaks louder! This, and quite a few other handy methods such as new ideas of explanation and empathetic connection highlight what makes this creation such an interesting discovery.

These methods highlighted and seemingly effective and absent technique of teaching-a professor actually attempting the challenge of touching the child’s mind.

Just think: Not only does it highlight what the students lack in the classroom, it also portrays what the professor requires to go for that extra mile to achieve an academic goal. When enduring high school many of us questioned our position with constant refuters of entry in school by discouraging ourselves and others around us-including teachers. This in turn discourages teachers, since they are only human.

It’s an academic domino effect of discouragement that makes even the smartest and most intellectual of us understand the true goal of both teaching and learning: Passion.

Without that passion, how can we ever hope to progress through academics and achieve those groundbreaking feats in science and entertainment that move the human race?

You never know, your next student may very well be the next Albert Einstein.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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