Robin teaches toddlers English

News | June 30, 2017

The first experiment with Robin the robot at playgroups and daycare centers in Tilburg may have been completed. The European project L2TOR (pronounced: 'el tutor'), of which this research is part, will run until 2018. The researchers of the Tilburg University are satisfied with the effect so far. The robot helps children to learn a foreign language in a playful way. In the Netherlands, these are Dutch-speaking children who learn English and Turkish children who learn Dutch. The same research is also being carried out in Germany and Turkey. 

In the experiment, 3-year-old toddlers learned English by doing activities with Robin the robot. In this first experiment, the focus was on counting from one to ten, but Robin can also act out songs (head, shoulders, knee and toe) and make the corresponding movements. The robot was used in groups, but also in one-on-one moments with the children. These contact moments are captured on video.

Robot ZINO

Not only in Tilburg, but also in Enschede, children in childcare learn to play with a robot in the group. At the De Vlinder daycare, researchers from the adjacent university take robot Zino for activities. De Vlinder is located in the middle of the knowledge campus of the University of Twente. This results in a special collaboration between the two organizations. Children can practice with the latest technical gadgets. 

This is how robot Zino ended up with the children. University researchers wanted to find out more about how children learn. Zino is a so-called social interaction robot. Children have to explain to Zino what is happening in the group, the robot analyzes how they do it, asks questions in return and hands out compliments. This produces data that the students can analyze.