Exploring Social Robots as a tool for Special Education to teach English to Iranian Kids with Autism

Document Type: Technical Note

Authors

1 Faculty of Humanities, Islamic Azad University, Tehran-West Branch, Tehran, Iran

2 Social & Cognitive Robotics Laboratory and Languages and Linguistics Center, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

This case study investigates the effects of Robot Assisted Language Learning (RALL) on English vocabulary learning and retention of Iranian children with high-functioning autism. Two groups of three male students (6-10 years old) with high-functioning autism participated in the current study. The humanoid robot NAO was used as a teacher assistant to teach English to the RALL group. Both RALL and non-RALL programs consisted of 12 sessions held within a 2-month period. Using a pre-test, mid-test, immediate post-test, delayed post-test design, this study measured the learning gains of the participants. The RALL group outperformed the non-RALL group in the designed tests which showed the effectiveness of RALL. This was further supported by comparing and contrasting the RALL and non-RALL groups’ parents’ feedbacks as well as the results obtained from the qualitative analysis of the video records. The findings of this study could be a starting point for a new line of research in second/foreign language education specific to children with autism.

Keywords


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