“Should we acquaint our children with the digital world as early as possible or should we prevent them from accessing the digital world as long as we can in order to protect them from the danger they may encounter in the digital world?” This is the dilemma the teachers and parents have been facing in recent years. Our Robot Benjamin aims at tackling this problem by providing guidance in fields such as the use of search engine or of social media.
Based on the idea of the paper clip from old Windows software, Benjamin helps primary school pupils find their way through the world of digitization by using sensors to detect and intervene on time when the pupils are on critical ground in the network or public software. Its physical form makes it impossible to simply “click it away” like an annoying pop-up; instead, it should meet with appreciation and friendship among children. It gives constructive criticism, warnings and applause when the pupils have consciously made the right decisions and should thus also bond with the pupils on an emotional level.
With the overwhelming amount of new technology in recent years, many teachers can’t handle to teach their lessons and learn the interaction/dangers with the new media at once. This is where Benjamin comes in to help. With the voice interaction of Benjamin, he seamlessly integrates into the lessons, and pupils can easily ask him questions about the technology as well as he gives the children warnings about dangers without the teachers looking over their shoulders all the time. With Benjamin, teachers can finally focus on teaching again.
What we could hear from most of the interviews with various primary school teachers was that even now, in the age of digitalization, the use of digital media in the classroom is still not sufficiently covered, although thanks to numerous existing learning software, work is already being done quite regularly on computers or on the Internet. The world of digital media offers many facets and dangers, especially for newcomers. Avoiding technology cannot be a solution, so we wanted to support teachers to prepare primary school children for their first contact and possible dangers at an early age.
With our robot Benjamin we not only create an emotional bond with the students, but also a safe and interactive environment for the first steps into the World Wide Web. Thus, teachers and students are relieved and can dive into an exciting universe of digital media with Benjamin.
In today’s increasingly technological world the age at wich children get in contact with digital devices is diminishing constantly. About two thirds of the ten- to eleven-year-olds own a smartphone and hardly any parent can keep its child from getting in contact with some form of digital technology. Wondering to what degree technology has found its way into the early stages of education,we decided to take a look at elementary schools.
In interviews with teachers and principals, we try to explore the difficulties they face, advantages and disadvantages, as well as possibilities in this area. Ultimately we hope to find a way to improve the current situation for students and teachers. So far the interviews have shown that most elementary schools have at least a computer in every room and a few smartboards – budget still seems to be a major issue here as well as usability in some cases. Learning-software is primarily used for basic training in maths or e.g. interactive picture books for reading, and is received well by most students and teachers.
Up to now, our user-research was very interesting, we gained good insight into the current state of technology in elementary schools and are excited to see to what results we will get eventually.