Robots will soon be found in Dubai classrooms

Robots are key to motivating young students to learn science, math and STEM education.
Robots are key to motivating young students to learn science, math and STEM education.

Dubai - The robots will focus on assisting students with classroom, social behaviour and engagement.



By Sherouk Zakaria

Published: Wed 13 Sep 2017, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 14 Sep 2017, 2:00 AM

Teaching assistant robots will be deployed in schools across Dubai after the  fifth Arab Robotics conference slated for October 3.
Senthil Kugan, director of Atlab, said three schools are already lined up to integrate its TeachAssist robots as part of kindergarten to second grade curriculum. The teaching assistants will be introduced to the global market in the long run.
"Robots are key to motivating young students to learn science, math and STEM education. It is a good medium of bringing students closer to these subjects and making them fun," said Kugan.
The technology-based learning solutions company Atlab has been working closely with Ministry of Education (MoE) and Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) for the last five years to implement robots as part of the school programme.
The robots will focus on assisting students with classroom, social behaviour and engagement. Kugan added that the humanoid can interact with children and assist them with the curriculum. The robots will assist teachers in assessing and grading students.
"Once we create a profile and load it into the robot, it will automatically register his/her details. The teacher can then assign the student certain tasks that the robot will support. The robot will then provide a report of the student's performance to the teacher," said Kugan.
Universal language
He added: "In the future, the universal language will be the language of robots. Since robots will be all around us in the next 15 years, children must learn the coding and programming language at an early stage to be able to speak to robots," said Kugan.
Therefore, he said, it is important to make robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) part of the school curricula. He said while robots performing the basics can now be seen in the markets, it is important to develop AI systems to help with daily functions and apply them on real grounds.
"In the future, we can develop AI systems and duplicate them to numerous machines, but we cannot duplicate good teachers themselves. Since we cannot duplicate a good teacher into a robot yet, we want to introduce robotics to support teachers in classrooms," said Kugan.
The company is working on advanced versions that will enable the TeachAssist robots to perform analytics on children and report their progress and weaknesses. The company is also working to introduce a Dh3,000 robot that will enable children on sick leaves to attend classes from home.
Meanwhile, the MoE has introduced 75 robotic labs and three digital labs across public schools in Dubai. Khalfan Juma Almarashda, director of student skills development at the ministry, said the labs will help students apply theories of different subjects into practice to enable them understand the curriculum better.
Juma Almarashda said the ministry will also host competitions among students enabling them to make the best use of robots.
He also noted it will also enable students to implement their innovative ideas.
3-day conference
The country will host the fifth Arab Robotics conference on October 3-5 for the first time, gathering experts and speakers from all over the world to explore the use of robots and AI in the society.
How robots help teachers and students
>  Interacting with robots will give children more freedom to express themselves and solve complex academic problems
> Having robot teaching assistant will also teach students to speak language of machines.
> It will help children learn algorithms to communicate with machines in the future
> A 3D camera around the robot's LED eyes will enable it to read the student's gestures and pose
> It will also enable students to implement their innovative ideas
> It will assist teachers in assessing and grading students
sherouk@khaleejtimes.com
 
 


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