Designing Robotic Teaching Assistants: Interaction Design Students' and Children's Views’
Paper in proceedings, 2015
This paper presents an exploratory study on children's contributions to the design of a robotic teaching assistant for use in the classroom. The study focuses on two main questions: 1) How do children's designs differ from interaction designers'? 2) How are children's designs influenced by their knowledge of robotics (or lack thereof)? Using a creative drawing approach we collected robot drawings and design discussions from 53 participants divided into 11 groups: 5 groups of interaction designers (24 participants), 3 groups of children with robotics knowledge (14 participants), and 3 groups of children without formal robotics knowledge (15 participants). These data revealed that (1) interaction designers envisioned a small or child-sized non-gendered animal- or cartoon-like robot, with clear facial features to express emotions and social cues while children envisioned a bigger human-machine robot (2) children without formal robotics knowledge, envisioned a robot in the form of a rather formal adult-sized human teacher with some robotic features while children with robotics knowledge envisioned a more machine-like child-sized robot. This study thus highlights the importance of including children in the design of robots for which they are the intended users. Furthermore, since children's designs may be influenced by their knowledge of robotics it is important to be aware of children's backgrounds and take those into account when including children in the design process.