Talking robots to be piloted in preschools and first years of primary education
The City of Tampere will be piloting talking robots in practising maths as well as English and German in preschools and in the first and second grades. The city is acquiring four robots: three little maths robots resembling owls and a small human-like humanoid robot for practising languages. The maths robots will be located in the Sorila school building, Vehmainen preschool and Pohjois-Hervanta School. Elias the robot teaching languages will be located in Tammela School.
The robots are suited for practising the skills of young children. The children do not have to know how to read or write as the robots can say the exercises out loud and they recognise the pupils’ answers. In addition to this, the exercises are visible on the screens installed in the maths robots.
Robots are acquired to support normal teaching and to motivate young school children to practise. The exercise robots do not get tired of repetition and they can adapt the exercises to the child’s skills.
- We are looking for experiences on how children react to the robots, says Marika Korpinurmi, Project Manager at the Smart Tampere digitalization programme.
Elias the Robot speaks German, Finnish and English and he also supports the City of Tampere’s pilot project on early language teaching. The aim of the project is to enrich children’s language skills. Preschools provide language showers, and in the first and second grades, school children study four foreign languages in four different periods. The pilot is part of the City of Tampere’s Kieliä kehiin! project that has received support from the Ministry of Education and Culture.
The maths robots have been designed and manufactured by AI Robots Oy, a company based in Lohja. Utelias Oy was in charge of programming the language exercises to the humanoid robot Elias manufactured in France. The company develops the exercises in cooperation with the language teachers of Tammela School and Outi Verkama, Project Designer of the Kieliä kehiin! project.
Text Hanna Porrassalmi
Photos Santeri Holappa