Robots in school: trust, interactions and institutions

This interdisciplinary project, carried out at UNIL and HEPL, combines different levels of social analysis to examine the use of robots in schools and to find out how trust in this technology is established.

  • Project description

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    The main question addressed in this project is: How and why is trust in robots established in schools? The following studies will provide an interdisciplinary answer: on the one hand, an analysis of filmed interactions between students, teachers and educational robots, combined with the realization of new pedagogical experiments; and on the other hand, the analysis of public policies in the educational field.

    By revisiting the notion of artificial intelligence in the practical field, we will clarify how the observed parties, i.e. children and adults, establish trust in robots at school. We will also investigate what can be learned from the different levels of analysis (interactional, experimental and institutional) regarding the introduction and use of robots at school.

  • Background

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    As is the case with artificial intelligence, the public reception of educational robotics, i.e. the use of robots for educational purposes, is ambivalent: companies praise its merits, the media amplify or question its promises and the public authorities invest or delay. Taking into account these tensions, this project questions the practical and institutional establishment of trust in robots at school.

  • Aim

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    The project has four main goals:

    1. at the interactional, experimental and institutional levels of analysis, it will examine how trust in robots is built in schools;
    2. it will implement new pedagogical experiments in schools using various educational robots;
    3. it will analyse the institutional framework and the political discourse regarding educational robotics;
    4. it will look into the notion of artificial intelligence from a novel, interdisciplinary perspective.
  • Relevance

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    The empirical results of the project will contribute to educational policy guidance, to the development of new pedagogical experiments and to a critical discussion concerning the concept of artificial intelligence, based on analyses and experiments with robots in schools. These goals will be achieved in collaboration with various institutions and professional partners such as the HEPL for the didactic component, the University of Lausanne for the critical aspect and the DFJC for the political facet.

  • Original title

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    Relocating Machine Intelligence: Trusting, Teaching, and Tinkering with Robots at School