Autonomous Robots

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 367–382 | Cite as

An autonomous educational mobile robot mediator

  • Ruben Mitnik
  • Miguel Nussbaum
  • Alvaro SotoEmail author


So far, most of the applications of robotic technology to education have mainly focused on supporting the teaching of subjects that are closely related to the Robotics field, such as robot programming, robot construction, or mechatronics. Moreover, most of the applications have used the robot as an end or a passive tool of the learning activity, where the robot has been constructed or programmed. In this paper, we present a novel application of robotic technologies to education, where we use the real world situatedness of a robot to teach non-robotic related subjects, such as math and physics. Furthermore, we also provide the robot with a suitable degree of autonomy to actively guide and mediate in the development of the educational activity. We present our approach as an educational framework based on a collaborative and constructivist learning environment, where the robot is able to act as an interaction mediator capable of managing the interactions occurring among the working students. We illustrate the use of this framework by a 4-step methodology that is used to implement two educational activities. These activities were tested at local schools with encouraging results. Accordingly, the main contributions of this work are: i) A novel use of a mobile robot to illustrate and teach relevant concepts and properties of the real world; ii) A novel use of robots as mediators that autonomously guide an educational activity using a collaborative and constructivist learning approach; iii) The implementation and testing of these ideas in a real scenario, working with students at local schools.


Robots in education Mobile robots Autonomous robot Robot-human interaction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer SciencePontificia Universidad Catolica de ChileSantiagoChile

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