The introduction of telepresence robots in education has made learning more accessible and more engaging by bridging the physical disconnection between teachers and students.
When you hear the phrase ‘robots in education’, you can be excused for imagining a fully functional humanoid machine shouting out instructions in its metallic voice and giving lectures to a class full of half-terrified kids. However, although robots are becoming capable of socializing and have made their way into the education sector, they still aren’t capable of teaching entire curriculums to students in the interactive way that actual teachers can do. Nevertheless, for the time being, they are helping people in the form of telepresence robots by enabling teachers to teach and interact with students remotely. The use of telepresence robots in education is helping students learn better and is making education accessible to those who cannot access it due to different circumstances.
Remote learning and teaching has already become commonplace in the world of education. The advent of the internet has spawned numerous remote learning opportunities like massive open online courses (MOOCs) and micro-credentials. As another application born from the internet and combined with robotics and sensor technology, telepresence robots are already making an impact in the field of education by extending the accessibility of education beyond schools and other educational institutions. Although they are yet to see mass adoption in conventional classroom education, telepresence robots are helping children who cannot go to regular classes due to chronic illnesses and other physically limiting conditions. Students suffering from chronic illnesses take lessons from teachers remotely through telepresence robots. These students have a telepresence robot that is equipped with a tablet that teachers from anywhere in the world can use to stream lessons. There are also cases of chronically ill students attending classes using stand-in telepresence robots and experiencing classes like regular students, engaging in two-way communication. Telepresence robots also make for excellent teachers for students with special needs, such as those having autism, helping them focus better and learn at their own pace.
As telepresence robots are becoming more ubiquitous in education, they are also being considered for use in regular classrooms. Having a telepresence robot enables educational institutions experts from across the world to interact with and teach students, enriching their educational experience. As the global interconnectivity increases, remote learning and micro-credentials will gain more popularity. This rise in the preference for remote learning will lead to a growth in the adoption of telepresence robots in education. Telepresence robots offer more interpersonal face-to-face interaction than regular MOOCs, and can potentially gain mass preference over regular online courses, and become the standard for online learning, and even the educational sector as a whole.
Although robots and artificial intelligence are getting ever-closer to functioning like humans, and the robotification of society is seemingly approaching, teaching is an area that is among the ones furthest from being robotified. However, the use of telepresence robots in education will continue to rise, to the benefit of both students and teachers across the world.
Naveen is the Founder and CEO of Allerin, a software solutions provider that delivers innovative and agile solutions that enable to automate, inspire and impress. He is a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience, with extensive experience in customizing open source products for cost optimizations of large scale IT deployment. He is currently working on Internet of Things solutions with Big Data Analytics. Naveen completed his programming qualifications in various Indian institutes.