Young children’s literacy and cognition to interactive AI robots: A multifaceted study of potential enhancement to early childhood education
Abstract: Interactional artificial intelligence (AI) devices and information and communications technology (ICT) are becoming widespread in Japanese daily life. Interactions with human-like robots may affect social-emotional skills development (non-cognitive skills) and media literacy (cognitive skill) in young children. This study examines the features of literacy and cognition of AI media; in this case, the mobile humanoid AI robot “RoBoHoN” manufactured by Sharp Corporation; and assessed the effects of incorporating these robots into early childhood education. Three early childhood AI education conditions were observed: 1. the children freely interacted with the robots during playtime, 2. the children’s impressions of the robot were assessed, and 3. the relationship with the robot was incorporated into the daily program. It was found that in all three conditions the children begun to explore their interactions with the robot and tried to adjust themselves accordingly. Although the children understood that the robot was different from humans, they perceived it as being able to communicate and having will. It was also confirmed that the children’s behavior during their robot interactions had animistic features. The nursery teacher sought to motivate the children and facilitate their interactions with the robots. This presentation includes detailed information about the study and the implications for the evolution of early childhood educational environments.