Children improve writing skills by correcting robots

Today, people hardly write text by hand,They type text on keyboards. Nevertheless, the modern person can’t do without the ability to write letters and numbers correctly, so in most cases, learning at school begins with writing lessons. A letter is given to some children with great difficulty and sometimes for a long time they cannot spell a letter correctly, so educators should take a closer look at alternative teaching methods. For example, scientists from Switzerland and Portugal recently proposed teaching children to write, giving them the opportunity to correct the written errors of illiterate robots.

As a rule, children begin to learn writing at preschool age.

In pedagogy there is a method called “teachingthrough training ”, in which students are invited to independently prepare and teach lessons for their classmates. This technique was invented by the German French teacher Jean-Paul Martan. It is believed that taking on greater responsibility, children more carefully work out the material and master it. Thus, if each student takes on such responsibility, the quality and speed of learning can increase significantly.

How to teach a child to write?

However, educators cannot apply this method.when teaching children to write, because a young "teacher" can teach another child mistakes. In the case of such sciences as mathematics and chemistry, classmates themselves could detect the problem and find a solution on their own, but first-graders risk remembering errors and correcting them in the future will be very problematic. However, scientists quickly realized that children can train not each other, but robots. In this case, even if something goes wrong, the electronic student will not get any harm. But his young teacher, seeing and correcting the mistakes of the robot, can learn to write much faster than usual.

The phenomenon when a child cannot learn to write is called dysgraphia.

Scientists were convinced of this during an experiment withinvolving children and the NAO robot developed by Soft Robotics. This humanoid robot with a height of 58 centimeters was initially able to recognize speech and maintain dialogue, so it was not difficult for researchers to teach him how to write letters on the touch screen. For teaching, we used models of handwriting of real people and examples of the most common mistakes in writing made by children 4-8 years old. In particular, we are talking about the wrong proportions of letters and numbers.

This is what NAO Robot looks like from Soft Robotics

By the way, how old did you learn to write? Share your answers in the comments or in our Telegram chat.

The experiment was conducted in Portugueseprimary school. Each child managed to give the robot four lessons, one per week. During the lesson, the NAO intentionally wrote letters on the screen with incorrect proportions and line breaks, and then asked the child for help in correcting the errors. By correcting them, the children really improved their writing skills. However, progress was noticeable only if the robot also improved its skills. If the researchers set him up for complete uneducability and he continued to make mistakes, no progress was made in teaching children.

NAO robot and student of a Portuguese school

The most interesting thing is that in these lessons betweena child and a robot do not necessarily have the presence of adults. This is not the case with standard sessions of “learning through learning”, where the teacher is required to monitor the progress of the lesson and correct students from time to time. It is likely that in the future some company will learn about the results of this study and will release a simulator for home teaching children to write. Children will obviously like such lessons, because the young participants in the experiment then shared that they consider themselves good teachers and do not mind holding a few more lessons for robots.