Attitudes towards Social Robots in Education

Authors Matthijs Smakman, Elly A. Konijn, Paul Vogt, Paulina Pankowska
Published in Robotics
Publication date 26 January 2021
Research groups Digital Ethics
Type Article


While social robots bring new opportunities for education, they also come with moral challenges. Therefore, there is a need for moral guidelines for the responsible implementation of these robots. When developing such guidelines, it is important to include different stakeholder perspectives. Existing (qualitative) studies regarding these perspectives however mainly focus on single stakeholders. In this exploratory study, we examine and compare the attitudes of multiple stakeholders on the use of social robots in primary education, using a novel questionnaire that covers various aspects of moral issues mentioned in earlier studies. Furthermore, we also group the stakeholders based on similarities in attitudes and examine which socio-demographic characteristics influence these attitude types. Based on the results, we identify five distinct attitude profiles and show that the probability of belonging to a specific profile is affected by such characteristics as stakeholder type, age, education and income. Our results also indicate that social robots have the potential to be implemented in education in a morally responsible way that takes into account the attitudes of various stakeholders, although there are multiple moral issues that need to be addressed first. Finally, we present seven (practical) implications for a responsible application of social robots in education following from our results. These implications provide valuable insights into how social robots should be implemented

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Language English
Published in Robotics
Year and volume 10 24
Key words social robots, education, Moral Concerns, child-robot interaction, Ethics, stakeholder perspectives, robot tutors, educational robotics
Digital Object Identifier 10.3390/robotics10010024

Matthijs Smakman

Professor Matthijs Smakman

Matthijs Smakman

  • Professor
  • Research group: Smart Systems for Healthy Living