Research ArticleHUMAN-ROBOT INTERACTION

Reading socially: Transforming the in-home reading experience with a learning-companion robot

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Science Robotics  22 Aug 2018:
Vol. 3, Issue 21, eaat5999
DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.aat5999
  • Fig. 1 Minnie and study materials.

    The learning-companion robot and the study materials, including the Talking with Minnie book, RFID cards, and books augmented with AprilTags. The robot’s camera, the red circle on the upper torso, is used to read AprilTags and to track the child’s face. A microphone, visible to the right of the camera, is used for audio-recording sessions, and an RFID reader, below the camera, not visible, is used to recognize cards for simple commands.

  • Fig. 2 Summary of results in synopsis.

    Reading goal to reading time differences on average (A) and over time (B). (C) Differences in reporting motivation to reading and improved reading comprehension. (D) Feelings, based on pre- and post-interview responses, that the robot has emotions and in motivation to read for the robot condition. Error bars in (A) represent SE.

  • Fig. 3 Quantitative results by condition.

    (A) The average number of days read, reading times, and reading goals, as well as the average difference between the reading goal and time. (B) Initial and post-situational interest scores. (C) Reading times compared with reading goals by day, where each point represents the time read subtracted from the reading goal time for each child on each day. Solid and dashed lines plot the average difference of reading time and reading goal for each day and the smoothed regression lines, respectively. Error bars represent standard error, and values shown at the bottom of a bar represent means.

  • Fig. 4 Regression analysis summary.

    Center and outside nodes represent outcome and predictor variables used in the regression models, respectively. Solid lines with arrows and dashed lines represent statistically significant and nonsignificant contributions, respectively.

  • Fig. 5 Children engaging in study reading activities.

    (A) Child reads out loud from the introduction book Talking with Minnie to the robot during the first visit. (B) Child in the control condition reads out loud into an audio recorder (pictured near book) from the book LeBron James while recording his activity in a reading packet (bottom left of picture).

  • Fig. 6 Counts for qualitative coding.

    (A) Total number of children with each code in post-interviews for select variables by condition. (B) Total number of children in the robot condition with each code in pre- and post-interviews for select variables.

  • Table 1 The design elements of the social robot.

    Guidelines from research on interest development and human-robot interaction used in the design of the robot. Learning supports provided by the robot are indirect and, rather than targeting a specific mechanism or learning outcome, are in service of enhancing the social presence and effects of the robot.

    IDDesign guidelineSource of evidence
    DE1Providing students with autonomy in activities and choosing educational materials(53)
    DE2Setting and monitoring reading goals(54)
    DE3Providing materials that align with student topic interests and ability and support skill development(55)
    DE4Providing a social partner that demonstrates interest in the reading activity(23)
    DE5Reading out loud to a social partner(56)
    DE6Having the robot maintain eye contact when speaking and averting its gaze while it is “thinking”(31, 57)
    DE7Providing tailored recommendations for content(58)
    DE8Making references to previous interactions(36)
    DE9Incorporating personal information, feelings, and beliefs into dialogue over time(46)

Supplementary Materials

  • robotics.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/3/21/eaat5999/DC1

    Materials and Methods

    Table S1. Examples of implementing the robot design elements.

    Table S2. Counts of qualitative codes.

    Table S3. Qualitative code definitions.

    Fig. S1. Sample page from daily reading packet for paper-based control condition.

    Data S1. Collected interview transcripts.

    Data S2. Survey responses.

    Data S3. Summary data.

    Analysis Code S1. Science robotics analysis.

  • Supplementary Materials

    The PDF file includes:

    • Materials and Methods
    • Table S1. Examples of implementing the robot design elements.
    • Table S2. Counts of qualitative codes.
    • Table S3. Qualitative code definitions.
    • Fig. S1. Sample page from daily reading packet for paper-based control condition.

    Download PDF

    Other Supplementary Material for this manuscript includes the following:

    • Data S1 (Microsoft Excel format). Collected interview transcripts.
    • Data S2 (Microsoft Excel format). Survey responses.
    • Data S3 (Microsoft Excel format). Summary data.
    • Analysis Code S1 (.R format). Science robotics analysis.

    Files in this Data Supplement:

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