A Multidisciplinary Framework for Blending Robotics in Education of Children with Special Learning Needs

The paper presents a currently developed multidisciplinary framework for implementing at a deeper level (i.e. blending) robotics in education of children with special learning needs. The novelty of the proposed approach is in the attempt to boost simultaneously the social and the cognitive motivation of the learner, not just relying on multiple rehearsals of the material to be learned. Our approach is an extension of the finding that the “socially motivated” people tend to accept more positively the robotic technology in education than people, who are “socially indifferent”. This has allowed us to design scenarios, where the imitation (“mirror neuron system” boost) helps achieve better results in learning novel skills than by listening to instructions (“mentalizing system” boost). The present short paper gives an outline of the adopted approach and some preliminary results in blending robotics in special educational settings.