Nowadays, practically no text is written manually anymore, but text is entered via keyboards. Nevertheless, modern man can not do without the ability to write letters and numbers correctly. In most cases, learning at school starts with writing lessons. Some children receive a letter with great difficulty, and sometimes they can not write a letter correctly for a long time. Therefore, educators should take a closer look at alternative teaching methods. For example, scientists from Switzerland and Portugal have recently proposed teaching children how to write in order to correct the spelling mistakes of illiterates.
In pedagogy, there is a method called "learning through learning," which asks students to independently prepare and teach lessons for their classmates. This technique was invented by the German-French teacher Jean-Paul Martan. It is believed that children who take on more responsibility elaborate and master the material more carefully. So if each student takes on this responsibility, the quality and speed of learning can improve significantly.
How do you teach a child to write?
However, teachers can not use this method when teaching children to write because a young "teacher" can teach another child to make mistakes. With such sciences as math and chemistry, the classmates could see the problem for themselves and find a solution, but first graders risk memorizing mistakes and correcting them in the future, which will be very problematic. However, the scientists quickly realized that children can not train each other, but robots. In this case, the electronic student can not do any harm even if something goes wrong. But his young teacher, who sees and corrects the mistakes of the robot, can learn to write much faster than usual.
The scientists were convinced of this in an experiment with children and the NAO robot developed by Soft Robotics. This 58-centimeter humanoid robot was initially able to recognize language and maintain dialogue. Therefore, it was not difficult for the researchers to teach him to write letters on the touch screen. For the lesson, we used manuscript models of real people and examples of the most common spelling mistakes of children aged 4 to 8 years. In particular, it's about the wrong proportions of letters and numbers.
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The experiment was conducted in a Portuguese elementary school. Each child managed to teach the robot four lessons, one a week. During class, the NAO purposely wrote letters with incorrect proportions and line breaks on the screen, then asked the child for help correcting the mistakes. The correction has really improved the children's writing skills. However, progress was only noticeable if the robot also improved its abilities. If the researchers set him up for total inexplicability and he continued to make mistakes, no progress was made in teaching children.
The most interesting thing is that these lessons do not require the presence of adults between the child and the robot. This is not the case with standard learning-to-learning sessions where the teacher has to monitor the progress of the lesson from time to time and correct the students. It is likely that in the future, some companies will learn about the results of this study and publish a simulator that allows children to learn to write from home. Children will obviously like such lessons because the young participants of the experiment then shared that they consider themselves good teachers and do not mind giving a few more lessons to robots.