Always about the students, never about the robots

Written by: Spencer Greenhalgh

Primary Source:  Spencer Greenhalgh

A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to host an MAET Bridge webinar on telepresence robots featuring Dr. John Bell, William Cain, Cui Cheng, and Amy Peterson.

Now, telepresence robots are a really cool idea, so I think everyone ought to watch the first few minutes to get an idea of what they are. However, I’m not sure that this is where the real value of the webinar is. Throughout the conversation, I was impressed by how much this team works to keep students—and not technology— at the center of the conversation. During the last five (or so) minutes of the webinar (starting around 47:00), each of our guests shared one thing that they learned from teaching with robots about teaching in general. Whatever your level of interest in robots (or even ed tech!), those five minutes are well worth your time.


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Hi there! My name is Spencer Greenhalgh, and I am a student in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology doctoral program at Michigan State University. I came to Michigan State University with a strong belief in the importance of an education grounded in the humanities. As an undergraduate, I studied French and political science and worked as a teaching assistant in both fields. After graduation, I taught French, debate, and keyboarding in a Utah private school before coming to MSU, where I plan to study how technology can be used to help students connect the humanities with their lives. I have a particular interest in the use of games and simulations to promote ethical reasoning and explore moral dilemmas, but am eager to study any technology that can help students see the relevance of studying language, culture, history, and government.