Does Roamer Work?
For 30 years teachers have used our educational robotic products. This has taken place in tens of thousands of schools, in 27 different countries, on 5 different continents. Why? Because teacher’s found it useful, and recommended it to other teachers. Comforting, but this practical endorsement does not constitute a scientific study. Unfortunately, what is proposed as “scientific” is in our view deeply flawed. We cannot explain why in a sound byte. So…
We do believe a more systematic approach to “proving” the effectiveness of educational products is a good thing. We present here, the our evidence so far.
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Peer reviewed Academic Papers relating to Roamer
Catlin, D. and Blamires, M. (2010). The Principles of Educational Robotic Applications (ERA): A framework for understanding and developing educational robots and their activities. Proceedings of Constructionism 2010, American University, Paris, France.
The original educational robots were the Logo Turtles. They derived their rationale from constructionism. How has this changed? This paper postulates ten principles that underpin the effective utilisation of robotic devices within education settings. We argue that they form a framework still sympathetic to constructionism that can guide the development, application and evaluation of educational robots. They articulate a summary of the existing knowledge as well as suggesting further avenues of research that may be shared by educationists and designers. The principles also provide an evaluative framework for E ducational R obotic A pplications (ERA). This paper is an overview of the ideas, which we will develop in future papers.PDF
Catlin, D. (2010) Robotics Performing Arts Project: An approach to STEM through cooperation not competition. Paper presented at the Constructionism 2010 Conference, Paris, France
The popularity of YouTube and the low cost of video equipment make it a practical possibility for students to create movie-shorts. In the Robotic Performing Arts Project students make a video of something similar to a puppet performance, replacing the puppets with Roamer robots. This paper discusses the potential of developing the project as an alternative to robotic competitions. While robot competitions are very popular, this project offers an alternative approach to STEM education where the main focus is on student collaboration and the connection of STEM and other subjects through the cultural heritage of the student community. The paper presents an initial raison d’être as a project starting point.PDF
Catlin, D. and Blamires, M. (2010). The e-Robot Project: A Longitudinal On-Line Research Collaboration to Investigate ERA Principles. TRTWR 2010 Conference, Darmstadt, Germany, part of SIMPAR 2010.
The Educational Robotic Application (ERA) Principles provides a framework for evaluating Educational Robots and their activities. This paper presents the rationale behind the proposed e-Robot Project, an online community based research resource aimed at gathering data on the use of educational robotics. Collating the data against ERA is an iterative process that will simultaneously verify and improve ERA, which in turn will inform the design and application of educational robotics. e-Robot involves all aspects of the research process from research design to meta-analysis. The project can run indefinitely and will encourage participation from student teachers, teachers, researchers, developers, administrators, politicians and other interested parties.PDF
Catlin, D. and Roberson S. (2012) Using Educational Robots to Enhance the Performance of Minority Students, Proceedings 3rd International Workshop of Teaching Robotics, Teaching with Robotics Conference 2012, Riva La Garda Italy.
Social history reports the struggles of minority groups within wider society. The underperformance of these groups in our education system is a persistent concern. Can educational robots contribute to addressing these issues? In this paper Dave Catlin and Professor Sylvester Robertson give shape to this problem by reviewing some of the issue of equity and briefly exploring learning as a cultural practice. They then develop various ERA Principles and show how they provide a theoretic foundation behind RAASP (Robots for African American Students Project).PDF
Catlin, D. (2012) Maximising the Effectiveness of Educational Robotics through the Use of Assessment for Learning Methodologies. Proceedings 3rd International Workshop of Teaching Robotics, Teaching with Robotics Conference 2012, Riva del Garda, Italy.
Like all tools, educational robots are only as effective as our skill in using them. We consider the methodologies grouped under the heading of Assessment for Learning (AfL) as a summary of best teaching practice. This paper explains how AfL and educational robotics form a symbiotic relationship that can truly enhance a student’s learning experience. It reviews AfL methods and shows their natural empathy with ERA Principles and how to adapt them into lesson plans featuring educational robots. This theoretical analysis is supported by classroom observations where teachers have applied these ideas to their use of the Roamer robot.PDF
Catlin, D. Smith, J.L. and Morrison, K. (2012). Using Educational Robots as Tools of Cultural Expression: A Report on a Project with Indigenous Communities. Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Robotics in Education. Sept 13th to 15th, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, pp. 73-79. MatfyzPress.
This paper reports on the use of educational robots with indigenous people. It shows how effective educational robots are at providing tools of self expression and act as a bridge between the modern world and the traditions of Native peoples. The original work first took place with Maoris in New Zealand. A similar, independent project, run by the Native American Squaxin People of Puget Sound, a Sovereign Nation in Washington State, embraced the understandings developed in New Zealand. Following a description of the project, we will evaluate the educational effectiveness of the project using the ERA1 Principles as an evaluative framework. We will also discuss the value of ERA as a helpful tool for understanding educational robotics.PDF
Catlin, D. (2013) A Day in the Life of an Educational Robot. A Report and Analysis of a School Working with Educational Robots. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Robotics in Education. Sept 19th and 20th 2013, Lodz University of Technology, Poland.
Educational robots are powerful tools with the potential to make regular contributions to the educational life of a school. For robots to fulfill this role they need integrating into everyday teaching practice. This paper is the first in a series that looks at that process in a specific school. It reports a first encounter of pupils with Roamer robots as part of a week long project and highlights some assimilation issues. The Educational Robotic Application (ERA) Principles is used as an evaluation framework and to provide data for the e-Robot project, a long term programme aimed validating the ERA Principles.PDF
Greff, E. (1996) Réflexions à l\’issue du 5ème Colloque Francophone de Didactique de l\’Informatique, Sciences et Techniques Éducatives, Vol. 3, n°2, Éditions Hermès, 1996, pp. 265-268.
Greff, E. (1996) Les apports du jeu de l\’enfant-robot à la didactique de l\’informatique, Actes du 5ème Colloque Francophone de Didactique de l\’Informatique de Monastir (Tunisie) du 10 au 12 Avril 1996, INBMI, AFDI, 1996, pp. 67-86.
Greff, E. (1997) 5ème Colloque International de robotique pédagogique, Sciences et Techniques Éducatives, Vol. 4, n°3, Éditions Hermès, 1997, pp.353-355
Greff, E. (1997) Un exemple d’activités mises en place à l’École Maternelle dans le but de former des esprits rigoureux et structurés, Actes du XXIVème Colloque des Professeurs et Formateurs de Mathématiques chargés de la Formation des Maîtres (COPIRELEM) du 13 au 15 Mai 1997. St-Etienne (France), IREM, 1997, pp. 39-49.
Greff, E. (1997) Du jeu de l\’enfant-robot à un véritable robot de plancher : une collaboration exemplaire entre l\’École Maternelle, l\’IUFM et l\’Université, Actes du 5ème Colloque International sur la Robotique Pédagogique de Montréal (Canada) du 12 au 15 Août 1997.
Greff, E. (1998) Le robot ” Roamer “, un exemple de matériel exploitable à l’école primaire, Actes du XXVème Colloque des Professeurs et Formateurs de Mathématiques chargés de la Formation des Maîtres (COPIRELEM) du 11 au 13 Mai 1998. Loctudy (France), IREM, 1998.
Greff, E. (2000) Portion of real and virtual in early behaviour, Actes du 9th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIED’99) du Mans (France) du 18 au 23 juillet 1999.Greff Eric, Le jeu de l’enfant-robot : un exemple d’ingénierie éducative conçue pour l’Ecole Maternelle, Actes du Colloque International Guy Brousseau, Autour de la théorie des situations didactiques du 26 au 28 juin 2000, Bordeaux, DAEST, pp 58-63
Greff, E. (2000) Le jeu de l’enfant-robot : un exemple d’ingénierie éducative concernant la construction et la représentation de l’espace chez les très jeunes enfants, Actes du Colloque International ” Constructivisme, perspectives et usages en Education ” de Genève (Suisse) du 4 au 9 septembre 2000, SRED, Genève, vol 2, pp 239-247.
– See more at: http://www.roamer-educational-robot.com/2013015-research-and-info/#sthash.ZvOIuzkg.dpuf
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.