September 4, 2012 AT 10:22 am

Unsure robots make better teachers than know-alls

Unsure robots make better teachers than know-alls @ New Scientist.

The best way to learn is to teach. Now a classroom robot that helps Japanese children learn English has put that old maxim to the test.

Shizuko Matsuzoe and Fumihide Tanaka at the University of Tsukuba, Japan, set up an experiment to find out how different levels of competence in a robot teacher affected children’s success in learning English words for shapes.

They observed how 19 children aged between 4 and 8 interacted with a humanoid Nao robot in a learning game in which each child had to draw the shape that corresponded to an English word such as ‘circle’, ‘square’, ‘crescent’, or ‘heart’.

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