Learning a Second Language with a Socially Assistive Robot

Kory Westlund, J.*, Gordon, G.*, Spaulding, S., Lee, J., Plummer, L., Martinez, M., Das, M., & Breazeal, C. (2015). Learning a Second Language with a Socially Assistive Robot. In Proceedings of New Friends: The 1st International Conference on Social Robots in Therapy and Education.


We created a socially assistive robotic learning companion to support English-speaking children’s acquisition of a new language (Spanish). In a two-month microgenetic study, 34 preschool children will play an interactive game with a fully autonomous robot and the robot’s virtual sidekick, a Toucan shown on a tablet screen. Two aspects of the interaction were personalized to each child: (1) the content of the game (i.e., which words were presented), and (2) the robot’s affective responses to the child’s emotional state and performance. We will evaluate whether personalization leads to greater engagement and learning.

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