By The Nation (sponsored news)
For kids, playing games and learning will no longer be two separate things, promise the creators of the “Avatar” robot teaching assistant.
Avatar, a 25-centimetre robot made of resin, is the fruit of the “TARAL: Teaching Assistant interactive Robot for Active Learning” research project run by Chulalongkorn University’s Faculties of Education and Engineering.
“We developed the robot teaching assistant from a robot teddy bear, which became the first-generation robot that we submitted to a contest in South Korea,” said Professor Naowanit Songkram, Department of Educational Technology and Communications.
The prototype was fine-tuned with co-developer Assoc Prof Krerk Piromsopa of the Department of Computer Engineering before being entered in the International British Innovation, Invention, Technology Exhibition (IBIX) 2020, where it won the Gold Medal and the Innovation Excellence Award.
“The highlight of the Avatar TA robot is the new feature that will transform the boring learning environment into fun lessons that learners will enjoy, including raising their Avatar robot with QR Codes received from answering quizzes,” Prof Naowanit explained. “This process is called Gamification because it evokes a sense of enjoyment so that learners may even forget that they are studying.
“We applied the Learning Management System (LMS) in growing Avatar. The more learners answer quizzes, the more Avatar grows, so learning and playing are pretty much the same thing.”
Avatar is also equipped with Moodle open-source LMS, which allows teachers to add and modify content and teaching materials as needed, be they animations, electronic books, or URL links.
“The quizzes may include fill-in-the-blank or full-sentence-answer types. Evaluation and summary of the results is also done in real-time.”
Avatar is currently under patent application.