Dear Commons Community,
Kumamoto, a city in Southwest Japan, plans to install robots in its classrooms to help home-based and absent pupils feel more included and less anxious.
The Mainichi Shimbun newspaper reported that the initiative was due to involve two meter-high robots, which would be fitted with microphones and a camera to allow for two-way communication. This would allow students to learn from home while still contributing to class discussions.
The robots are self-propelling, meaning they can move freely around the schools and even participate in school events, per the report.
Japan has been experiencing a rise in the number of truant schoolchildren, a trend potentially accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the country’s truancy rates soared to record levels, The Asahi Shimbun outlet reported, citing an education ministry survey.
“Aside from letting them view the classes, the robots allow students to move freely in space and communicate with others at their own will,” an education board official told the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper. “Hopefully, this can help lower the mental hurdles for truant students.”
This is an idea that is worth a try