Special Issue "Recent Advances in Educational Robotics"

A special issue of Electronics (ISSN 2079-9292). This special issue belongs to the section "Artificial Intelligence".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 July 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Savvas A. Chatzichristofis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Computer Science, Neapolis University, Paphos 8042, Cyprus
Interests: artificial intelligence; computer vision; educational robotics; image retrieval
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Zinon Zinonos
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Computer Science, Neapolis University, Paphos 8042, Cyprus
Interests: IoT; mobility management; sensor networks; intelligent systems; educational robotics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Robotics has drawn great interest from teachers and researchers over the last decade as a powerful tool to improve cognitive and social skills for preschool to high school students and to facilitate learning in science, mathematics, technology, computer science, and other school subjects or interdisciplinary learning activities. More specifically, educational robotics aims to improve the learning experience of people through the creation, implementation, improvement, and validation of pedagogical activities, tools (e.g., guidelines and templates), and technologies, where robots play an active role and pedagogical methods inform each decision. Educational robotics has emerged as a unique learning tool that can offer hands-on, fun activities in an attractive learning environment promoting students’ interest and curiosity.

A review of the literature reveals that educational robotics is a growing field with the potential to significantly impact the nature of science and technology education at all levels, from kindergarten to university.

Topics of interest for this Special Issue include but are not limited to the following:

  • Educational robotics platforms;
  • Educational robotics competitions;
  • Educational robotics technological products and practices;
  • Educational robotics learning processes;
  • Educational robotics pilots and best practices;
  • Computational thinking through educational robotics. 

Dr. Savvas A. Chatzichristofis
Dr. Zinon Zinonos
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Electronics is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Educational robotics
  • Low-cost electronics for educational robotics
  • STEM
  • Educational platforms
  • Robotics competitions
  • Learning processes
  • Pilots and best practices
  • Computational thinking through educational robotics

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
HYDRA: Introducing a Low-Cost Framework for STEM Education Using Open Tools
Electronics 2021, 10(24), 3056; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10243056 - 08 Dec 2021
Viewed by 421
Abstract
STEM education is of paramount importance, especially in the lower levels of education, and it has been proven beneficial for students in many ways. Although there are various tools available, there are significant drawbacks mainly related to the cost and the ease of [...] Read more.
STEM education is of paramount importance, especially in the lower levels of education, and it has been proven beneficial for students in many ways. Although there are various tools available, there are significant drawbacks mainly related to the cost and the ease of use. In this study, we introduce a new low-cost educational framework oriented toward elementary and secondary educational needs. The proposed system exploits open tools and low-cost devices. The system’s core is based on the popular Arduino microcontroller, a low-cost device supported by a large community. The overall system was designed and developed, providing an expandable, modular system of low complexity suitable for students with no or low prior knowledge in related subjects, among others, to programming, embedded devices, sensors and actuators, as well as robotics. Our scope was to provide a system with a small learning curve. Practically, this makes it possible in a short amount of time for the students to perform appealing yet straightforward tasks which will boost their self-confidence and creativity, improve their technical skills and simultaneously provide a system with several capabilities usable in different kinds of projects. The introduced system was tested through a preliminary study using flow theory in a team of 68 students of the three last grades in an elementary school in Greece. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Educational Robotics)
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Article
Utilizing Educational Robotics for Environmental Empathy Cultivation in Primary Schools
Electronics 2021, 10(19), 2389; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10192389 - 30 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 405
Abstract
The fostering of empathy among primary school students is an important goal because it enhances the improvement of behavior and the development of positive social contacts. Empathy can contribute to understanding and supporting others’ needs. In most cases, empathy in young children is [...] Read more.
The fostering of empathy among primary school students is an important goal because it enhances the improvement of behavior and the development of positive social contacts. Empathy can contribute to understanding and supporting others’ needs. In most cases, empathy in young children is developed through listening to sad stories, experienced first-hand by others. In the educational scenario presented in this article, the dramatic effects of climate change were conveyed to the pupils through a message said to originate from the future, delivered by an educational robot. The message was expressed by a peer living in Iran in 2050. In addition to delivering the message, the robot called on children to prevent climate change from rapidly worsening by changing their own way of thinking and attitudes. Thus, students called upon a formulated educational problem to understand and handle through their own emotional and cognitive performance through the robot’s storytelling. This performance was intensely affected by empathy towards the Iranian peer’s difficult personal living conditions. The research focused on measuring the evidence of empathy development. Additionally, the design and implementation aspects of the robot are presented, utilizing the implemented teaching intervention as means of demonstrating the innovative nature of the robot. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Educational Robotics)
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Article
A Framework for Using Humanoid Robots in the School Learning Environment
Electronics 2021, 10(6), 756; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10060756 - 23 Mar 2021
Viewed by 771
Abstract
With predictions of robotics and efficient machine learning being the building blocks of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, countries need to adopt a long-term strategy to deal with potential challenges of automation and education must be at the center of this long-term strategy. Education [...] Read more.
With predictions of robotics and efficient machine learning being the building blocks of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, countries need to adopt a long-term strategy to deal with potential challenges of automation and education must be at the center of this long-term strategy. Education must provide students with a grounding in certain skills, such as computational thinking and an understanding of robotics, which are likely to be required in many future roles. Targeting an acknowledged gap in existing humanoid robot research in the school learning environment, we present a multidisciplinary framework that integrates the following four perspectives: technological, pedagogical, efficacy of humanoid robots and a consideration of the ethical implications of using humanoid robots. Further, this paper presents a proposed application, evaluation and a case study of how the framework can be used. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Educational Robotics)
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Review

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Review
A Systematic Review on Oral Interactions in Robot-Assisted Language Learning
Electronics 2022, 11(2), 290; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11020290 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 88
Abstract
Although educational robots are known for their capability to support language learning, how actual interaction processes lead to positive learning outcomes has not been sufficiently examined. To explore the instructional design and the interaction effects of robot-assisted language learning (RALL) on learner performance, [...] Read more.
Although educational robots are known for their capability to support language learning, how actual interaction processes lead to positive learning outcomes has not been sufficiently examined. To explore the instructional design and the interaction effects of robot-assisted language learning (RALL) on learner performance, this study systematically reviewed twenty-two empirical studies published between 2010 and 2020. Through an inclusion/exclusion procedure, general research characteristics such as the context, target language, and research design were identified. Further analysis on oral interaction design, including language teaching methods, interactive learning tasks, interaction processes, interactive agents, and interaction effects showed that the communicative or storytelling approach served as the dominant methods complemented by total physical response and audiolingual methods in RALL oral interactions. The review provides insights on how educational robots can facilitate oral interactions in language classrooms, as well as how such learning tasks can be designed to effectively utilize robotic affordances to fulfill functions that used to be provided by human teachers alone. Future research directions point to a focus on meaning-based communication and intelligibility in oral production among language learners in RALL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Educational Robotics)
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Review
Social Robots in Special Education: A Systematic Review
Electronics 2021, 10(12), 1398; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10121398 - 10 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1011
Abstract
In recent years, social robots have become part of a variety of human activities, especially in applications involving children, e.g., entertainment, education, companionship. The interest of this work lies in the interaction of social robots with children in the field of special education. [...] Read more.
In recent years, social robots have become part of a variety of human activities, especially in applications involving children, e.g., entertainment, education, companionship. The interest of this work lies in the interaction of social robots with children in the field of special education. This paper seeks to present a systematic review of the use of robots in special education, with the ultimate goal of highlighting the degree of integration of robots in this field worldwide. This work aims to explore the technologies of robots that are applied according to the impairment type of children. The study showed a large number of attempts to apply social robots to the special education of children with various impairments, especially in recent years, as well as a wide variety of social robots from the market involved in such activities. The main conclusion of this work is the finding that the specific field of application of social robots is at the first development step; however, it is expected to be of great concern to the research community in the coming years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Educational Robotics)
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Review
Computer Vision Meets Educational Robotics
Electronics 2021, 10(6), 730; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10060730 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 932
Abstract
Educational robotics has gained a lot of attention in the past few years in K-12 education. Prior studies have shown enough shreds of evidence and highlight the benefits of educational robotics as being effective in providing impactful learning experiences. At the same time, [...] Read more.
Educational robotics has gained a lot of attention in the past few years in K-12 education. Prior studies have shown enough shreds of evidence and highlight the benefits of educational robotics as being effective in providing impactful learning experiences. At the same time, today, the scientific subject of computer vision seems to dominate the field of robotics, leading to new and innovative ideas, solutions, and products. Several articles from the recent literature demonstrate how computer vision has also improved the general educational process. However, still, the number of articles that connect computer vision with educational robotics remains limited. This article aims to present a systematic mapping review, with three research questions, investigating the current status of educational robotics, focusing on the synergies and interdependencies with the field of computer vision. The systematic review outlines the research questions, presents the literature synthesis, and discusses findings across themes. More precisely, this study attempts to answer key questions related to the role, effectiveness and applicability of computer vision in educational robotics. After a detailed analysis, this paper focuses on a set of key articles. It analyzes the research methodology, the effectiveness and applicability of computer vision, the robot platform used, the related cost, the education level, and the educational area explored. Finally, the results observed are referred to as educational process benefits. The reviewed articles suggest that computer vision contributes to educational robotics learning outcomes enhancing the learning procedure. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first systematic approach that revises the educational robotics domain by considering computer vision as a key element. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Educational Robotics)
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Review
Robotics in Education: A Scientific Mapping of the Literature in Web of Science
Electronics 2021, 10(3), 291; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10030291 - 26 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1292
Abstract
The technological revolution has created new educational opportunities. Today, robotics is one of the most modern systems to be introduced in educational settings. The main objective of this research was to analyze the evolution of the “robotics” concept in the educational field while [...] Read more.
The technological revolution has created new educational opportunities. Today, robotics is one of the most modern systems to be introduced in educational settings. The main objective of this research was to analyze the evolution of the “robotics” concept in the educational field while having, as a reference point, the reported literature in the Web of Science (WoS). The methodology applied in this research was bibliometrics, which we used to analyze the structural and dynamic development of the concept. The collection of WoS studies on robotics in education began in 1975. Its evolution has been irregular, reaching peak production in 2019. Although the focus was on collecting studies with educational knowledge areas, other knowledge areas were also present, such as engineering and computing. It was found that the types of manuscript most commonly used to present scientific results in this area are proceedings papers. The country with the highest level of production in this field of study is the United States. The results confirm the potential of this type of study in the scientific field. The importance of this technology in the training of future surgeons and in the results they produce in their own learning was also detected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Educational Robotics)
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