The digitalization of society entails a number of opportunities for education to renew its methods for teaching, knowledge, and learning. However, the pace at which technology development typically occurs, can lead to unpredictable, unexpected, and sometimes undesirable consequences. A cautious approach coupled with evidence that a given technology can provide actual value to education is foundational when considering introducing it on a wider scale. In the case of educational robots, commercial actors are gaining increased momentum and influence. It is therefore pressing to ask whether schools should have any reservations when it comes to buying and using these products, and how research can contribute to the debate. In this talk, the focus will be on conveying research findings of Child–Robot Interaction studies, and discussing ways in which to move forward.
Sofia Serholt has a PhD in Applied IT with specialization in Educational Sciences, and an MSc in Education, received at the University of Gothenburg in 2017 and 2012, respectively. In her dissertation titled Child–Robot Interaction in Education, she studied how children interact with an empathic robotic tutor designed through the EU-funded project EMOTE in a classroom setting, focusing on instruction, social interaction, and breakdowns. She further explored teachers’ and students’ perceptions and normative perspectives on the use of educational robots with a particular focus on ethics. Sofia currently works as postdoctoral researcher within Interaction Design at Chalmers University of Technology, as well as research assistant in Child–Robot Interaction at University West within the Wallenberg-funded project START. She is an active member of Applied Robotics in Gothenburg – a research group focused on exploring human-centered approaches to robot design, as well as social and ethical implications of robots in society. She regularly engages with the public through lectures and workshops, and has given talks at such events as The Gothenburg Science Festival, BETT show, SETT, PopUpDig, and Internetdagarna.