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Podcast: How robots improve STEM education

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By Elisabeth Kindig


In episode 2 of Tech Lightning Rounds, Beth Kindig goes directly to the source of robotics expertise and hosts discussions with technologists who specialize in the field. Interviews are held in “lightning round” format, which are rapid interviews with tech experts for immediate depth on each topic.

In episode 2, Richard Margolin of RoboKind discusses how facial expressive robots improve STEM education initiatives and how robots connect better with autistic children. Robots for STEM is a coding course tailored for elementary students with self-guided curriculum. The problem today is that many elementary school teachers do not know how to code, or how to teach coding. The course allows the teacher to guide the kids along with a robot through interactive lessons. For instance, instead of plain text “Hello World” lessons, there is a robot that saves, smiles, and says “hi” while teaching the “Hellow World” lesson. In trials, the robot increased enrollment for STEM courses from 3 children to 55 children.

RoboKind also specializes in Robots for Autism, which has improved effectiveness for autistic children from 2-3% with a human to 87% with the facial expressive robot. The robot, named Milo, teaches children social and emotional skills and is more effective than a human due to the repetition and predictability of a robot. As Richard puts it, “robots never have bad days.”

Background on RoboKind:

Working closely with the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) community, RoboKind has developed Robots4Autism and Milo, a socially advanced robot, who’s proven effectiveness with learners with ASD is over 80 percent as opposed to the 3 percent for traditional therapy.

To continue their mission of diverse and inclusive education, RoboKind created Robots4STEM, a visual programming language that gives children the building blocks for computer science. Using the drag and drop programming language, children learn the logic of programming and how to control Jett, a humanoid robot.