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Nao Co-Writer Teaches Handwriting by Feigning Ignorance

A new research project seeks to help students struggling with handwriting by empowering them to teach a Nao robot. (Photo credit: EPFL.)
A new research project seeks to help students struggling with handwriting by empowering them to teach a Nao robot. (Photo credit: EPFL.)

Children struggling with handwriting might one day benefit from a research project involving the Nao robot. The Nao Co-Writer interacts with the child using a tablet. First the child makes the word using magnetic letters. Next, the robot writes the word on the tablet — but somewhat badly. Then the child writes the word on the tablet, while pointing out the robot’s mistakes. In this way, the child practices their handwriting while feeling empowered to teach. When the child feels the robot has done a good enough job, the pair moves on to another word.

Early trials with children in Geneva found that the robot’s handwriting and gradual improvement was believable, and the children did feel they were teaching the robot. But the researchers say there are still much work to be done to determine whether it will be able to motivate students over the long term, which would be necessary to truly improve the child’s handwriting.

 

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