L2 vocabulary teaching by social robots: the role of gestures and on-screen cues as scaffolds
Demir-Lira, Ece and Kanero, Junko and Oranç, Cansu and Koşkulu, Sümeyye and Franko, Idil and Göksun, Tilbe and Küntay, Aylin C. (2020) L2 vocabulary teaching by social robots: the role of gestures and on-screen cues as scaffolds. Frontiers in Education, 5 . ISSN 2504-284X
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2020.599636
Social robots are receiving an ever-increasing interest in popular media and scientific literature. Yet, empirical investigation on the use of social robots in education remains limited. In two studies, we examined the effectiveness of a social robot in second language (L2) education, specifically in teaching English measurement terms (e.g., big, wide) to Turkish-speaking 5-year-olds (n=72). We also compared two scaffolding techniques in evaluating the effectiveness of the robot tutor: co-speech hand gestures and on-screen cues. In all conditions, children successfully learned the new L2 words from the robot tutor. However, the effectiveness of the tutor was higher when teaching was supported by on-screen cues that directed children’s attention to the referents of target words, compared to when the robot performed co-speech hand gestures representing the target words (iconic gestures) or pointing at the referents (deictic gestures). The type of gesture (iconic versus deictic) did not significantly influence learning. Findings were replicated with a human tutor. Findings contribute to theoretical and practical discussions on the potential of social robots in education.
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