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In this article, we present Cellulo, a novel robotic platform that investigates the intersection of three ideas for robotics in education: designing the robots to be versatile and generic tools; blending robots into the classroom by designing them to be pervasive objects and by creating tight interactions with (already pervasive) paper; and finally considering the practical constraints of real classrooms at every stage of the design. Our platform results from these considerations and builds on a unique combination of technologies: groups of handheld haptic-enabled robots, tablets and activity sheets printed on regular paper. The robots feature holonomic motion, haptic feedback capability and high accuracy localization through a microdot pattern overlaid on top of the activity sheets, while remaining affordable (robots cost about EUR 125 at the prototype stage) and classroom-friendly. We present the platform and report on our first interaction studies, involving about 230 children.
One of the main issues with the acceptance of robotic tools in schools is the extracurricular aspect of the learning activities using these robots. In the Cellulo project, we developed a novel robotic platform that aims to provide a ubiquitous, versatile and practical tool for teachers with subjects varying among the different topics at their respective school curricula. In order to show the potential of Cellulo in the classroom as part of standard curricular activities, we designed a learning activity called Windfield that aims to teach the atmospheric formation mechanism of wind to early middle school children.
This article presents a learning activity and its user study involving the Cellulo platform, a novel versatile robotic tool designed for education. In order to show the potential of Cellulo in the classroom as part of standard curricular activities, we designed a learning activity called Windfield that aims to teach the atmospheric formation mechanism of wind to early middle school children. The activity involves a didactic sequence, introducing the Cellulo robots as hot air balloons and enabling children to feel the wind force through haptic feedback. We present a user study, designed in the form of a real hour-long lesson, conducted with 24 children in 8 groups who had no prior knowledge in the subject. Collaborative metrics within groups and individual performances about the learning of key concepts were measured with only the hardware and software integrated in the platform in a completely automated manner. The results show that almost all participants showed learning of symmetric aspects of wind formation while about half showed learning of asymmetric vectorial aspects that are more complex.