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Student in the shell: The robotic body and student engagement

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Computers & Education Volume 130, Number 1, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


The purpose of this case study was to explore how the embodiment of graduate students in robotic surrogates was related to their engagement in a class with other robotically and non-robotically embodied classmates. Using a mixed methods design, we collected survey and in-class observational data on the students' perceptions of their robotic bodies and their engagement in the course. Applying linear models and thematic analysis, we sought to identify prevailing patterns of students' use their robotic bodies to engage in their learning. Our findings suggest that nonverbal communication with one's robotic body is a dominant form of interaction and engagement in synchronous learning contexts and multiple contextual factors affect robotic students' engagement. Specifically, the capabilities of the robotic surrogate and the student's perceptions of the surrogate as an extension of their own body may influence their engagement in educational contexts. Patterns of robotic and nonverbal behaviors may also vary with instructional context and social learning. For robotically telepresent students, embodiment becomes a central factor to their engagement and should be included in theories of engagement in technology-mediated contexts that involve surrogate bodies.


Lei, M., Clemente, I.M. & Hu, Y. (2019). Student in the shell: The robotic body and student engagement. Computers & Education, 130(1), 59-80. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved May 6, 2021 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on January 29, 2019. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

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