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: closed (15 July 2022) | Viewed by 22310

Special Issue Editors

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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 (12 papers)

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Research

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Article
Virtual Training System for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Control Teaching–Learning Processes
Electronics 2022, 11(16), 2613; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11162613 - 20 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 646
Abstract
The present work is focused on the development of a Virtual Environment as a test system for new advanced control algorithms for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The virtualized environment allows us to visualize the behavior of the UAV by including the mathematical model [...] Read more.
The present work is focused on the development of a Virtual Environment as a test system for new advanced control algorithms for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The virtualized environment allows us to visualize the behavior of the UAV by including the mathematical model of it. The mathematical structure of the kinematic and dynamic models is represented in a matrix form in order to be used in different control algorithms proposals. For the dynamic model, the constants are obtained experimentally, using a DJI Matrice 600 Pro UAV. All of this is conducted with the purpose of using the virtualized environment in educational processes in which, due to the excessive cost of the materials, it is not possible to acquire physical equipment; moreover, is it desired to avoid damaging them. Finally, the stability and robustness of the proposed controllers are determined to ensure analytically the compliance with the control criteria and its correct operation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Educational Robotics)
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Article
FOSSBot: An Open Source and Open Design Educational Robot
Electronics 2022, 11(16), 2606; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11162606 - 20 Aug 2022
Viewed by 730
Abstract
In the last few years, the interest in the use of robots in STEM education has risen. However, their main drawback is the high cost, which makes it almost impossible for schools to have one robot per student. Another drawback is the proprietary [...] Read more.
In the last few years, the interest in the use of robots in STEM education has risen. However, their main drawback is the high cost, which makes it almost impossible for schools to have one robot per student. Another drawback is the proprietary nature of commercial solutions, which limits the ability to expand or adapt the robot to educational needs. Different robot kit versions, which have different electronics and programming interfaces and target different age groups, make the decision of educators on which robot to use in STEM education even more complicated. In this work, we propose a new low-cost 3D-printable and unified software-based solution that can cover the needs of all age groups, from kindergarten children to university students. The solution is driven by open source and open hardware ideas, with which, we believe we will help educators in their work. We provide detail on the 3D-printable robot parts and its list of electronics that allow for a wide range of educational activities to be supported, and explain its flexible software stack that supports four different operating modes. The modes cover the needs of users that do not know or want to program the robot, users that prefer block-based programming and less or more experienced programmers who want to take full control of the robot. The robot implements the principles of continuous integration and deployment and allows for easy updates to the latest software version through its web-based administration panel. Though, in its first steps of development and testing, the proposed robot has a huge potential, due to its open nature and the community of students, researchers and educators, that potential has kept growing. A pilot at selected schools, a performance evaluation of various technical aspects and a comparison with state-of-the-art platforms will soon follow. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Educational Robotics)
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Article
An Omnidirectional Platform for Education and Research in Cooperative Robotics
Electronics 2022, 11(3), 499; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11030499 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 725
Abstract
In this paper we present a new, affordable, omnidirectional robot platform which is suitable for research and education in cooperative robotics. We design and implement the platform for the purpose of multi-agent object manipulation and transportation. The design consists of three omnidirectional wheels [...] Read more.
In this paper we present a new, affordable, omnidirectional robot platform which is suitable for research and education in cooperative robotics. We design and implement the platform for the purpose of multi-agent object manipulation and transportation. The design consists of three omnidirectional wheels with two additional traction wheels, making multirobot object manipulation possible. It is validated by performing simple experiments using a setup with one robot and one target object. The execution flow of a simple task (Approach–Press–Lift–Hold–Set) is studied. In addition, we experiment to find the limits of the applied pressure and object orientation under certain conditions. The experiments demonstrate the significance of our inexpensive platform for research and education by proving its feasibility of use in topics such as collaborative robotics, physical interaction, and mobile manipulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Educational Robotics)
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Article
A Methodological Approach to the Teaching STEM Skills in Latin America through Educational Robotics for School Teachers
Electronics 2022, 11(3), 395; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11030395 - 28 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1741
Abstract
The study aims to design a methodological approach that allows educational robotics to develop STEM competences for schoolteachers, but with a gender focus. The phases within consist of designing a set of workshops with a gender approach, making use of Arduino, as it [...] Read more.
The study aims to design a methodological approach that allows educational robotics to develop STEM competences for schoolteachers, but with a gender focus. The phases within consist of designing a set of workshops with a gender approach, making use of Arduino, as it allows for introducing concepts in electronics and programming. For this, a mixed research method was applied, where quantitative and qualitative information was collected. The study was carried out with teachers from Latin American schools, where teachers from Chile and Colombia participated the most, and was conducted in virtual mode through the Zoom platform. As a result, it was found that Arduino and its components can be used to build projects that can be related in a real context, which further motivates students. It was also found that the levels of creativity, attitude, and motivation of the students increased with the workshops that were carried out. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Educational Robotics)
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Article
An Innovative Low Cost Educational Underwater Robotics Platform for Promoting Engineering Interest among Secondary School Students
Electronics 2022, 11(3), 373; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11030373 - 26 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1352
Abstract
The presented article describes the design features of an educational robotics project addressed for secondary school students and carried out at the University of Girona (UdG). The project, called Underwater Robotics Workshop, is about the students building an underwater exploration robotic vehicle using [...] Read more.
The presented article describes the design features of an educational robotics project addressed for secondary school students and carried out at the University of Girona (UdG). The project, called Underwater Robotics Workshop, is about the students building an underwater exploration robotic vehicle using low-cost materials. Its ultimate objective is to promote engineering interest among students and motivate them to direct their future studies towards engineering degrees. The main purpose of this article is to describe this activity and to promote it. Versatility and adaptation are key values as the activity has been designed to be adapted to convenience or replicated. It is a continuation work of a previously published articles, now describing different technological adaptations related to the design of the vehicle’s controller, and the gathered experiences from added workshop celebrations in the recent years. The workshop has been defined as a project-based learning approach where the students learn about physics, engineering, electronics, programming, and robotics, as well as to use all kinds of working tools, according to the maker philosophy. To date, the opinions collected from the participants encourage continuation of the activity and, at the same time, ask for the introduction of novelties to keep the workshop updated with the contents of the subjects related to technology and sciences. This project is being held for more than 13 years in the UdG. More than 800 secondary school students have participated in the activity, building about 200 underwater vehicles in more than 50 editions of the workshop. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Educational Robotics)
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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
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1644
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 2 | Viewed by 1265
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
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1757
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
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1654
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 12 | Viewed by 3459
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 11 | Viewed by 2718
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 13 | Viewed by 3003
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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