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Robots to teach in Abu Dhabi school

Robots and humanoids to take over classrooms at private school

  • By Anjana Sankar, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 16:01 August 27, 2014
  • XPRESS

  • Image Credit: Abdul Rehman/XPRESS
  • Way to go: Merryland International School staffat the robotics lab

Abu Dhabi: Robots will soon be teaching basic math and other subjects at a private school in Abu Dhabi.

Merryland International School in Mussafah has launched what it claims is the first robotic lab in a UAE school, with more than 30 cutting edge robots including humanoids with built-in intelligence.

Humanoid AISOY Raspberry Pi robot will teach basic addition and subtraction while Nao, the 57-cm tall Evolution Humanoid robot from France, will help special needs children.

Nao can walk, talk and even recognise emotions. The programmable robot can also be used to explore research topics in robotics, computer science, human-machine interaction and even social sciences.

Then there is the Genibo Robot Dog which falls asleep if the students are not attentive.

“I have sourced out some of the best and most advanced robots including humanoids, quadrupeds, hexapods, flying robots and pet robots from all over the world,” Susheela George, Founder of Merryland, told XPRESS.

“Our aim is to mould future scientists, designers, engineers and leaders,” she added.

Susheela claims the school has invested half a million dirhams to set up the robotics lab.

The school will have robotics science as a subject integrated to their Cambridge International curriculum, and delivered through physics, ICT and math classes. Students from grade three to 12 will benefit from the lab.

“The course will start in full swing next year after the teachers have completed their training from Pittsburgh University in the US,” said Susheela.

George Fernandes, Head of Department, Information Communication Technology (ICT) at the school, said the robotics lab is just one of the many things in the pipeline. “We plan to go a long way in making robotics science a subject of study for our students. Children can learn from scratch the science of assembling a robot. At an advanced level, high school students will be taught how to programme robots with built-in intelligence,” said Fernandes.

The robotic lab was formally inaugurated on August 22 by Dr. John Netting, Director General of European Business Assembly (EBA), Oxford and Dr. Martin Moore-Ede and Dr. Donna Martin from Harvard University. The Indian and Pakistani ambassadors to the UAE were also present at the function held at the school’s campus in Mussafah.

 

Why robots?

Robots can caputre a child’s imagination like no other tool by creating a fun, physical learning process. “Kids recognise when they are learning something themselves -- robots give them that,” says Larry Johnson, CEO, New Media Consortium, a US headquartered research organisation that specialises in educational technology.

 

You speak:

Should robots replace teachers?

 

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Comments (9)

Your comment
  1. Added 13:38 August 28, 2014

    I do agree with Singh ,Dubai. This could be scary for kids and who will responsible if it malfunctions and kills the children?

    Hira, Abu Dhabi, Bangladesh

  2. Added 13:27 August 28, 2014

    Being an ex-student of the institution mentioned above I can solemnly say that all this talk about robots teaching is nothing beyond an eyewash. The school claims to be an institution like no other in the world, but in reality all it does is spoon-feed you your syllabus material.

    Mohammed, London, United Kingdom

  3. Added 12:42 August 28, 2014

    Well, even though it might seem like a bit of a scary idea to have non human beings teach children..... but having studied in this school from the very beginning till the end..... well, I just know the teachers will make it a success. Just wish we had it back when we were here.

    Nasrin, Dhaka, Bangladesh

  4. Added 07:50 August 28, 2014

    Robots, online learning, and all of these education reforms will never replace classroom teachers. Look how many elites are sending their kids to these schools... oh, that would be none. Why? A great teacher who has experienced things can never be replaced by all these new trends. And how does a robot manage control? Exactly, it can't! This is all for the masses to endure to save money and make sure the elites give their kids all the advantages to make sure they are never threatened by a commoner.

    Tom, Ann Arbor, United States

  5. Added 01:25 August 28, 2014

    What's new about that? We've had NEA robots teaching in our public schools for years.

    Gomalio Fung, Chicago, United States

  6. Added 23:59 August 27, 2014

    We agree to disagree, Debra

    Yoicks von Spoofington, Brooklyn, United States

  7. Added 23:58 August 27, 2014

    For D.L. We may disagree but we are humans first

    Yoicks von Spoofington, Brooklyn, United States

  8. Added 20:49 August 27, 2014

    What is the point of moulding future scientists, designers, engineers and leaders? Just build a robot to replace them and be done with it... seems like you're already heading in that direction anyway... what's the need for human interaction?

    RogerW, Rockville, United States

  9. Added 17:24 August 27, 2014

    This will be scary what if it malfunctions and kills the children? or just explode? dont they consider the danger on this?

    singh, dubai, India

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