Roamer a Research Based Design
Roamer’s only purpose is education of children. Its design was developed based practical experience supported by a diversity of educational, teaching, psychological and scientific research.
|Practical Educational Experience|
For 30 years teachers have used the Valiant Turtle and then the Roamer educational robots. This has taken place in tens of thousands of schools, in 27 different countries, on 5 different continents. Why? Not because a small company spent “mega bucks” on marketing, but because teacher’s found it useful, and recommended it to other teachers.
Comforting, but this practical endorsement does not constitute a scientific study. We cannot present the evidence of why and how Roamer works in a few sound bytes, so invite you visit the Roamer Research Site.
How Can You Research Roamer?
What is the educational validity of a pencil? What evidence is there that a pencil works? The question is absurd, because a pencil is a tool and it depends on what you do with it and how you do it. Well the same applies to Roamer; it is a sophisticated tool.
Roamer Research is based on collating information from a wide range of different sources and across diverse subjects: Artificial Intelligence, developmental psychology; mathematics, assessment theory… All this information is analysed against the Educational Robotic Application (ERA) Principles.
Doctoral Thesis Shows Roamer Works!
We used to say you could get a Phd by studying the effects of most Roamer Activities. Well that is exactly what Dr. Stephanie Holmquist has done. Her study of the Spacecraft Rescue Project showed that Roamer was highly successful.
Behaviour to Roamer is like software to a computer. It controls what you can do with the robot. Some activities use Standard Behaviours, others require special Behaviours which you download.
You can create behaviours as part of activities you invent and if necessary you can create different keypad designs. You can also modify existing behaviours by adding special functionality to User Keys.
You can change the behaviour and the graphic for a keypad to make your Roamer suitable for different activities.
Roamer Pioneers Speaking Educational Robots
Roamer was the first educational robot to use speech. Our research continues into the educational application of robotic speech.
Activity Talk: Roamer can ask questions, give answers, set challenges, provide relevant information, respond to students’ actions, … We are only beginning to explore the possibilities.
Help Talk: Roamer explains how to program something when you make a mistake.
System Talk: Roamer tells you useful things like when it’s feeling tired and you need to recharge the batteries.
Sound Effects: Integrated to the speech system are a whole range of sound effects. If you make your Roamer into a dog you can make it bark, growl or whimper.
The Future… Students will soon be able to write dialogue for their Roamer to speak.
Managing Roamer Speech
You can use the Speech Module, free RoamerWorld Software, to manage what messages and prompts Roamer plays.
The standard Roamer voice is an American female (‘Heather’). For a small fee you can personalise each of your Roamers. Making them unique makes them more attractive to the students.
English options: American, Australian, British – male and female voices. English as spoken by Arab or Indian native speakers.
Other languages: French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Polish, Czech, Greek, Turkish, Arabic, Chinese and Japanese. Male, female and different options depending on the language are available.
Emotional variations: For some languages and voice options you can have a variety of emotions. Happy, sad, sinister…
Technological change is fast and furious. Whatever you can purchase today is obsolete – the company who sold it are already working on the next version. There are two issues here:
Roamer has far more potential than we can show here. There are extensive plans to develop the technology of the system. However, this has to be led by education and not technology. We plan to add modules that will increase the educational power of Roamer, but only after we have made sure they work in classrooms.