Societies2016, 6(3), 20; doi:10.3390/soc6030020 - published 20 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This article reports three case studies on the usability and acceptance of an industrial robotic prototype in the context of human-robot cooperation. The three case studies were conducted in the framework of a two-year project named AssistMe, which aims at developing different means of interaction for programming and using collaborative robots in a user-centered manner. Together with two industrial partners and a technological partner, two different application scenarios were implemented and studied with an off-the-shelf robotic system. The operators worked with the robotic prototype in laboratory conditions (two days), in a factory context (one day) and in an automotive assembly line (three weeks). In the article, the project and procedures are described in detail, including the quantitative and qualitative methodology. Our results show that close human-robot cooperation in the industrial context needs adaptive pacing mechanisms in order to avoid a change of working routines for the operators and that an off-the-shelf robotic system is still limited in terms of usability and acceptance. The touch panel, which is needed for controlling the robot, had a negative impact on the overall user experience. It creates a further intermediate layer between the user, the robot and the work piece and potentially leads to a decrease in productivity. Finally, the fear of the worker of being replaced by an improved robotic system was regularly expressed and adds an additional anthropocentric dimension to the discussion of human-robot cooperation, smart factories and the upcoming Industry 4.0.
Societies2016, 6(3), 19; doi:10.3390/soc6030019 - published 29 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Distributed leadership can enhance the professional learning communities of schools. The present study explored the leadership experience of Jordanian special education teachers, and their perceptions of common constraints to leadership. A mixed method design was used, including a survey (n = 136) and an interview (n = 23). Results indicated that special education teachers had little experience of leadership roles. They regarded the provision of cognitive and emotional support to colleagues as their most important leadership role, and participating in interview committees and selecting new teachers as the least important. There were no significant mean differences between male and female special education teachers in their level of enacted leadership. Level of education and years of experience were found to have a significant effect on the level of teachers’ leadership.
Societies2016, 6(2), 18; doi:10.3390/soc6020018 - published 16 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life. The demand for occupational therapists in Canada is expected to grow sharply at an annual growth rate of 3.2%, compared to 0.7% for all occupations. At the same time, it is believed by occupational therapists in Canada that the Canadian public does not understand the role of occupational therapy. Occupational science is an emerging basic science field that supports the practice of occupational therapy. Given that newspapers are one source the public uses to obtain information and that newspapers are seen to shape public opinions, the purpose of this study is to investigate how “occupational therapy” is covered in Canadian newspapers from the term’s first appearance in 1917 until 2016 and how “occupational science” is covered from the term’s first appearance in 1989 to 2016. We interrogated the findings through the lens of three non-newspaper sources—two academic journals: Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy (CJOT) and Journal of Occupational Science (JOS); and one Canadian magazine: Occupational Therapy Now (OTN). We found that medical terms were prevalent in the newspaper articles covering occupational therapy similar to the presence of medical terms in the CJOT and OTN. However, the newspapers missed contemporary shifts in occupational therapy as evident in the CJOT, OTN and JOS—such as the increased engagement with enablement, occupational justice and other occupational concepts. The newspapers also failed to portray the societal issues that occupational therapy engages with on behalf of and with their clients, and the newspapers did not cover many of the client groups of occupational therapy. Occupational science was only mentioned in n = 26 articles of the nearly 300 Canadian newspapers covered with no concrete content linked to occupational science. The scope of occupational therapy presented in Canadian newspapers may be one contributing factor to a situation where occupational therapists in Canada think that there is lack of public understanding around their role, as readers are not getting the full picture and as such approach occupational therapy with different expectations. Given the lack of coverage of occupational science, readers will likely obtain limited knowledge about occupational science and its focus.
Abstract: This article condenses the key findings of qualitative studies on assembly work. Grounded conceptually in considerations of the role of experiential knowledge and living labor capacity with regard to informal expertise and tacit knowledge, the empirical results challenge the dominant view of assembly work as routine tasks that could easily be replaced by robotics. The empirical basis comprised of 62 qualitative interviews in five assembly plants provides answers to two questions: Are there non-routine aspects to be found in assembly work today? What exactly is the nature of experience in assembly work? The detailed research results are presented in three steps: the first focuses on the role of the non-routine in core assembly tasks; the second discusses the important and increasing role played by interactive capabilities in assembly work to ensure high performance, quality, and a smooth material flow; and the third highlights the usually neglected role of assembly workers in processes of innovation and organizational learning. The concluding chapter discusses the findings from the perspective of new technological options in robotics, possible worker resistance and effects on employment.
Abstract: This study asked two broad questions: (1) what is the prevalence of teen pregnancy in contemporary Vietnam; and (2) what selected social, family, and individual factors are associated with teen pregnancy in Vietnam? The study utilized Vietnam Survey Assessment of Vietnamese Youth surveys conducted in 2003 and 2008 to answer the two research questions within the context of fast political, economic, and social change in Vietnam in the last two decades. Results of this study show that the prevalence of pregnancy among Vietnamese teenagers in the surveys was stable at 4%, or 40 pregnancies per 1000 adolescent girls aged 14 to 19. Age, experience of domestic violence, and early sexual debut were positively correlated with higher odds of teenage pregnancy for both survey cohorts; however, being an ethnic minority, educational attainment, sexual education at school, Internet use, and depressive symptoms were significantly related to teenage pregnancy only in the 2008 cohort.
Societies2016, 6(2), 15; doi:10.3390/soc6020015 - published 28 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The impact of robots on employment is discussed extensively, for example, within the academic literature and the public domain. Disabled people are known to have problems obtaining employment. The purpose of this study was to analyze how robots were engaged with in relation to the employment situation of disabled people within the academic literature present in the academic databases EBSCO All—an umbrella database that consists of over 70 other databases, Scopus, Science Direct and Web of Science and within n = 300 Canadian newspapers present in the Canadian Newsstand Complete ProQuest database. The study focuses in particular on whether the literature covered engaged with the themes of robots impacting (a) disabled people obtaining employment; (b) disabled people losing employment; (c) robots helping so called abled bodied people in their job to help disabled people; or (d) robots as coworkers of disabled people. The study found that robots were rarely mentioned in relation to the employment situation of disabled people. If they were mentioned the focus was on robots enhancing the employability of disabled people or helping so called abled-bodied people working with disabled clients. Not one article could be found that thematized the potential negative impact of robots on the employability situation of disabled people or the relationship of disabled people and robots as co-workers. The finding of the study is problematic given the already negative employability situation disabled people face.