TELEPRESENCE ROBOTS & EDUCATION
|Source: Thunderbird School of Global Management Telepresence Robot Graduation|
New National Science Foundation Research
A new study by the National Science Foundation has found that telepresence robots help students, who are learning remotely, feel more a part of the classroom. COVID-19 has forced millions of students out of the classroom and into remote, distance learning classes. The National Science Foundation finding is an important one and underscores another important role for telepresence robots to play: assisting and optimizing distance learning.
The National Science Foundation, joined by researchers at Oregon State University, examined student experiences in three different circumstances: in-class learning, learning remotely through a telepresence robot and distance learning by calling into class, livestreaming or recorded class sessions.
Remote, Robotic Learning
The clear preference of the 18 engineering students who participated in the study was if distance learning is necessary, the telepresence robot format is the best. They said the robot kept them more engaged and involved in the class.
Even before the pandemic hit, 14% of university students in the US were earning their degrees online and another 15% were using distance learning technologies some of the time. Interestingly, the students who participated in the NSF study were split as to whether they preferred in-person or distance learning.
Key Telepresence Robot Functions
The students used the telepresence robot for three key functions: listening to the lectures, asking questions and during the break moving the robot around to talk with friends and the instructor. Telepresence robots are playing a very important role in the practice of medicine. They are now serving an important role in education even to the point of enabling Class of 2020 graduations to take place at schools like The Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University.