HEART – Help educators to teach through robotic tools
The use of robots to help adult learners is a relatively new field, which has shown interesting results. Robots have been developed to support a wide range of educational activities, including training for specific skills, language learning, vocational education, continuing professional development and others. Specific robotic devices have been developed to aid learners with disabilities as well, including developmental, learning and sensory disabilities, communication disorders, emotional and behavioural disorders and physical impairments. Research has shown that some of them have demonstrated promising outcomes in aiding the educational outcomes of learners. Most of the research to date pertains to the use of educational robots in school education for children and few projects or initiatives have focused attention on adult education, despite the potential benefits. This project is going to address this gap and bridge the divide between the education and the robotics sectors, which is currently wide, as the sectors are lacking communication and common ground between each other.
The HEART project has four target groups.
The first group is educators in the adult education sector, who are responsible for teaching and training adults. Their needs are related to applying innovative approaches to reach their students with the teaching material. For educators who want to use robots with adult learners, there is no overview of what is available on the market and how they should make use of it. This project will conduct a systematic review of the currently available technology and produce outputs that will support educators to improve their capacity to use robotics technology in their work.
The second group is educators and professionals who focus specifically on adult learners with disabilities, with this group comprising primarily of teachers and trainers, but also including other specialists, for example occupational therapists, counsellors and others. Their needs are also related to the most effective methods which they can use to meet the specific learning needs of the learners they are working with.
The third group comprises of experts from the partner organisations who will be trained as mentors and will be able to support the first two target groups in their direct work with adult learners.
The fourth group is specialists in the Higher Education sector such as teachers, lecturers, educators, researchers and other specialists who work in the Robotics departments of universities, specialising in educational robotics. The project will support them in connecting the field of robotics with the field of education and contribute to the development of academic know-how in this area, which these specialists can use in their work.
The objectives of this project are focusing on improving the capacity of educators to provide education and training to adult learners through the use of robotics technology. Furthermore, we aim the educators to provide education and training that is specific to the needs of learners with disabilities.
One of our goals is to map out the field of educational robotics and enhance the understanding of the interconnections between technologies and practices, relevant to the needs of adult learners.
We wish to create an international network of trainers and educators with a specific knowledge in the field of educational robotics in the partner countries. To increase synergies between the adult education, the higher education and the robotics sectors through more targeted use of robotics technologies. Finally, to increase the capacity of the partners from the different project countries and enhanced cooperation between them.
Activities of the HEART Project
A1 – Mapping of the robotic devices that are available on the market and their use of supporting adult education and creating a searchable DATABASE published as an online tool.
A2 – A guide to complement the database, which will present the concepts, the selection criteria, descriptions of all the devices, learning scenarios and a set of competences for the educators.
A3 – A training course methodology thet will ensure that all the training modules are developed following a similar structure and in a way that meets the needs of the target groups.
A4 – A web-based training course, consisting of 6 modules, aimed at the target groups to enhance their capacity to use robots for adult education.
A5 – The partners will carry out the piloting of the online training course in order to ensure that it meets the needs of the target groups.
A6 – The partners will carry out a training for trainers, which will prepare them to support the target groups in their use of robots to support adult learners. This will create a trained pool of experts and improve the capacities of the partners.
A7 – Based on the feedback received from the LTT and the piloting, the partners will produce the final version of the online training course.
A8 – The partners will carry out a cycle of 6 webinars, 1 in each country, with the purpose of presenting the database and the training to local audiences.
A9 – An international conference will be held at the end of the project, which will serve to inform about the project results. In addition to these core activities, the partners will carry out support activities, including project.