Lessons From Teachers on Performing HRI Studies with Young Children in Schools


Jin Joo Lee

Jin Joo Lee

Kory Westlund, J. M., Gordon, G., Spaulding, S., Lee, J., Plummer, L., Martinez, M., Das, M., & Breazeal, C. (2016). Lessons From Teachers on Performing HRI Studies with Young Children in Schools. In S. Sabanovic, A. Paiva, Y. Nagai, & C. Bartneck. Proceedings of the 11th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (Christchurch, New Zealand).


We deployed an autonomous social robotic learning companion in three preschool classrooms at an American public school for two months. Before and after this deployment, we asked the teachers and teaching assistants who worked in the classrooms about their views on the use of social robots in preschool education. We found that teachers' expectations about the experience of having a robot in their classrooms often did not match up with their actual experience. These teachers generally expected the robot to be disruptive, but found that it was not, and furthermore, had numerous positive ideas about the robot's potential as a new educational tool for their classrooms. Based on these interviews, we provide a summary of lessons we learned about running child-robot interaction studies in preschools. We share some advice for future researchers who may wish to engage teachers and schools in the course of their own human-robot interaction work. Understanding the teachers, the classroom environment, and the constraints involved is especially important for microgenetic and longitudinal studies, which require more of the school's time—as well as more of the researchers' time—and is a greater opportunity investment for everyone involved.

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