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Robots in special education: reasons for low uptake

Galvez Trigo, Maria Jose; Standen, Penelope Jane; Cobb, Sue Valerie Gray

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Maria Jose Galvez Trigo

Penelope Jane Standen

Sue Valerie Gray Cobb


Purpose: This paper identifies the main reasons for low uptake of robots in Special Education, obtained from an analysis of previous studies that used robots in the area, and from interviewing Special Education teachers about the topic.

Design/methodology/approach: An analysis of 18 studies that used robots in Special Education was performed, and the conclusions were complemented and compared with the feedback from interviewing 13 Special Education teachers from Spain and UK about the reasons they believed caused the low uptake of robots in Special Education classrooms.

Findings: Five main reasons why Special Education schools do not normally use robots in their classrooms were identified: the inability to acquire the system due to its price or availability; its difficulty of use; the low range of activities offered; the limited ways of interaction offered; and the inability to use different robots with the same software.

Originality/value: Previous studies focused on exploring the advantages of using robots to help children with Autistic Spectrum Conditions and Learning Disabilities. This study takes a step further and looks into the reasons why, despite the benefits shown, robots are rarely used in real-life settings after the relevant study ends. The authors also present a potential solution to the issues found: involving end users in the design and development of new systems using a user-centred design approach for all the components, including methods of interaction, learning activities, and the most suitable type of robots.


Galvez Trigo, M. J., Standen, P. J., & Cobb, S. V. G. (2019). Robots in special education: reasons for low uptake. Journal of Enabling Technologies, 13(2), 59-69.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 4, 2019
Online Publication Date Jul 4, 2019
Publication Date Jun 17, 2019
Deposit Date Mar 4, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jul 24, 2019
Journal Journal of Enabling Technologies
Print ISSN 2398-6263
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 2
Pages 59-69
Series Title User involvement in virtual and augmented technologies and games for rehabilitation and learning
Series ISSN 2398-6263
Keywords Educational robots, NAO, Intellectual disabilities, Learning disabilities, Autism, Special Education
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