Robot teacher allows long distance learning

LOS GATOS, CA (KGO) – The definition of one-on-one learning is changing. 10-year-old Simon is working with an instructor this summer on his reading and comprehension, but he’s also being monitored and helped by a robot.

The robot is made by a company called Double Robot, and it allows the Director of Instruction at Lindamood-Bell Learning Centers to be an extra set of eyes and ears to offer assistance from miles away. And the ability of the robot to move gives the technology a certain coolness factor and even human qualities.

“Sitting all day with their instructors can be tough, so we get up and move and play games, and this allows me to go in there with them and even do a virtual high-five. The kids love giving the robot high-fives,” said Jody Gilles, the Director of Instruction.

Lindamood-Bell is a global operation. The robot allows Gilles to spend 20 to 30 minutes with 10 to 12 students a day from Sydney to London.

The Double Robot is manufactured right here in Silicon Valley. Originally the technology was adopted for trade shows and meetings, but now, it has found a whole new market.

CEO David Cann thinks educators realize kids embrace the technology and how it opens avenues of communication. “I think that’s very important for kids to have the personal attention of a teacher and even an expert. How often do you get to talk to somebody who’s an expert in something that you’re interested in?”

“We’re about to move around, interacting and also change the distance or level that we’re working with our students. So it allows us to feel like we’re in-person instead of on a computer.”

Students like Simon quickly bond with the robot, becoming protective of it. “I like to help it because mostly it sometimes it mostly crashes on the wall. (Have you ever seen that happen?) Yes, just now it did.”

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