Classroom robot boosts STEM, engages children with autism

Stacey watches NAO and its pre-programmed dance. Copyright-The Associated Press.

To help celebrate National Robotics Week, one little robot-that-can is making its home in U.S. classrooms, helping train children with special needs and advancing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curricula.

The robot–named NAO–also has a snarky sense of humor. That’s because students in Hutchinson School District’s Career and Technical Education Academy can program NAO’s conversation.

“Do you like chocolate?” NAO asked instructor Steve Stacey. When Stacey answered “No,” NAO responded with “Do you even have taste buds?”–a response written by sophomore Gage Brown.…Read More

My classmate, the robot: NY pupil attends remotely

Devon Carrow attends Winchester Elementary School from home while operating a robot in the classroom, in West Seneca N.Y. Photo by David Duprey, Associated Press.

In an elementary school hallway, a teacher takes her second-graders to the library, leading a single-file line of giggling boys and girls that’s perfectly ordinary until you get to a sleek white robot with a video screen showing the face of a smiling, chubby-cheeked boy.

Devon Carrow’s life-threatening allergies don’t allow him to go to school. But the 4-foot-tall robot with a wireless video hookup gives him the school experience remotely, allowing him to participate in class, stroll through the hallways, hang out at recess and even take to the auditorium stage when there’s a show.

What’s most remarkable is how unremarkable this gee-whiz technology is viewed by his classmates. In a class of 7-year-olds raised on video games, avatars and remote-controlled toys, they don’t see a robot. They just see Devon.…Read More