The Future of Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

The educational use of robots. The example of the Robot Therapy with ‘Paro’.

Carl Heese, Catholic University of Eichstätt Chair of Social Pedagogy Ostenstr. 24 85072 Eichstätt (Germany)


Robot Therapy has made significant improvement, especially the therapy with the Paro, a seal robot which was developed for robot therapy with elderly people. The robot was designed as a substitute for animals in Animal-Assisted Therapy and activity.  A lot of research has been done on the effects of the implementation of this new educational device for activating people or alleviating emotional disturbances not only with the elderly but in special social pedagogical settings for all ages. Other instances are pupils with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in primary schools or residents with temperamental outbursts in stationary facilities of special education.

Empirical studies have been done to investigate the outcome of this new approach. They show some advantages of this new resource compared to the use of animals in similar settings.

The pedagogical handling of this innovation has been introduced by the developing engineer and was never considered in terms of an educational theory. This contribution discusses the use of the robot introduced by Takanori Shibata from a pedagogical point of view. One consideration will be referring to psychoanalytic pedagogy regarding the robot as a transitional object in accordance with Donald Winnicott. Another consideration refers to the practical know-how of Animal-Assisted Therapy.

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