The case of classroom robots: teachers’ deliberations on the ethical tensions
Journal article, 2017

Robots are increasingly being studied for use in education. It is expected that robots will have the potential to facilitate children’s learning and function autonomously within real classrooms in the near future. Previous research has raised the importance of designing acceptable robots for different practices. In parallel, scholars have raised ethical concerns surrounding children interacting with robots. Drawing on a Responsible Research and Innovation perspective, our goal is to move away from research concerned with designing features that will render robots more socially acceptable by end users toward a reflective dialogue whose goal is to consider the key ethical issues and long-term consequences of implementing classroom robots for teachers and children in primary education. This paper presents the results from several focus groups conducted with teachers in three European countries. Through a thematic analysis, we provide a theoretical account of teachers’ perspectives on classroom robots pertaining to privacy, robot role, effects on children and responsibility. Implications for the field of educational robotics are discussed.

Thematic analysis

Social implications

Focus group

Educational robots


Teachers' perspectives


Sofia Serholt

University of Gothenburg

Wolmet Barendregt

University of Gothenburg

Asimina Vasalou

University College London (UCL)

Patricia Alves-Oliveira

University of Lisbon

Aidan Jones

University of Birmingham

Sofia Petisca

University of Lisbon

Ana Paiva

University of Lisbon

AI and Society

0951-5666 (ISSN) 1435-5655 (eISSN)

Vol. 32 4 613-631

Subject Categories

Educational Sciences


Human Computer Interaction

Information Systemes, Social aspects



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