Cognitive Computation

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 789–801 | Cite as

Approaching Social Robots Through Playfulness and Doing-It-Yourself: Children in Action

  • Leopoldina FortunatiEmail author
  • Anna Esposito
  • Giovanni Ferrin
  • Michele Viel


This work reports on a pilot study devoted to investigate whether the direct experience of building a robot by children enables them to obtain a more effective and complex learning of what a robot is. The study consists of an experiment carried out with eighteen pupils of the same age, attending a secondary school in Udine (Italy). The experiment was aimed to allow children to build up a simple robot, and in this experience, the children were supported by two researchers and by one of their teachers. The results show that this concrete experience activated in the children affective, emotional, physical, and social dimensions and brought them to the development of a more sophisticate conceptualization of robots. The learning by doing approach was quite effective also in strengthening the children’s social behavior and improving their mechanical knowledge and manual abilities.


Social robots Children Learning by doing Educational construction Do-it-yourself DIY 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leopoldina Fortunati
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anna Esposito
    • 2
  • Giovanni Ferrin
    • 3
  • Michele Viel
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Human SciencesUniversity of UdineUdineItaly
  2. 2.Department of PsychologySecond University of Naples and IIASSCasertaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Mathematics and Computer ScienceUniversity of UdineUdineItaly
  4. 4.University of UdineUdineItaly

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