News & Events

Supporting Early Childhood Education with MIT’s Social Robot Learning Companion

Supporting Early Childhood Education with MIT’s Social Robot Learning Companion

13th October 2022

Using technology to increase learning engagement in Year 1 and Year 2
Deeper social-emotional engagement ,  whether it’s with a teacher, robot, or parent  is paramount to improving the ability for children to learn language from a young age. This year, DHA’s unique collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will extend to children in Years 1 and 2 who will receive the special opportunity to develop their literacy and social-emotional learning through a robot literacy station designed by researchers at MIT’s Media Lab.

Towards the end of this month, DHA will be welcoming Safinah Ali, a graduate student in the Personal Robots Group at MIT, who will oversee the initiation of the project at our school. Her work focuses on designing robotic interactions for early childhood learning and designing AI literacy curricula for K12. Safinah is part of the research effort that will bring robotic learning companions to students of DHA, that aim to enrich their language and social-emotional learning.

What AI learning will look like for our students
The robot literacy station consists of the learning companion robot Jibo, a tablet with literacy applications and a sensor setup to collect information about the study. Children will be doing literacy activities such as storybook exploration that targets their language learning and curiosity skills, emotion regulation activities that target their social-emotional learning and creative exploration that scaffolds their creativity.

The activities are designed so that they are age appropriate and complement what the children are already learning in school. In their previous work in the US, the research team observed that long-term interaction with social robots greatly benefited children’s cognitive learning, as well as social behaviors such as curiosity, growth mindset and creativity.

DHA children will interact with the robot for 15-20 minutes per session for 1-2 times per week over the course of this academic year and their schedule will be carefully designed with teachers so that it is built into every student’s regular timetable in a way that is least disruptive to their classroom schedule.

We are extremely excited to welcome Safinah in a few weeks’ time and to bring the future of learning right here to DHA.

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