CNN’s Decoded Explores Robotic Classrooms In Dubai

CNN’s Decoded Explores Robotic Classrooms In Dubai

In the latest episode of Decoded, CNN’s Anna Stewart explores how humanoid robots can help introduce school students to the latest tech.

CNN visited GEMS Dubai American Academy to see how they use robots in the classroom in a school-wide project. Sreejit Chakrabarty, Director of AI & Robotics at GEMS Dubai American Academy explains: “We are living in a world that is changing every second and by the time they [the students] are out in the world, the world is going to be an entirely different place. So at least being aware of these technologies is really, really critical.”

GEMS Dubai American Academy uses two robots called Pepper and two smaller versions called Now, with the aim of enhancing learning across year groups. Middle and high school students use the robot to practice their coding skills, creating a lesson for Pepper to deliver. This lesson is then taught to some of the school’s youngest kids. Grade 4 scripts Pepper’s lessons. Grade 8 then builds upon that code, adding multimedia to the presentation. Afterwards, high schoolers program Pepper’s sensors to make the lesson more interactive.

Sreejit Chakrabarty tells Anna Stewart what the robots can add to a classroom setting: “With the sensors onboard the robot you can actually track how well the students are reacting to that piece of content. Are they interested? Are they happy, are they sad, or are they even bored? And it could interrupt and pull out a piece of content that’ll make them engaged in that lesson again.”

When Pepper steps in, sometimes the class’s human teacher, Priya Noronha Kumar, Head of Grade 1, can’t help but feel concerned, saying: “In the future, I feel like Pepper would be able to answer questions faster than I would as a teacher. However, human impact of empathy and values and kindness and those kinds of things, is only through human contact.”