Synopsis: Most students do not like to answer questions in class. However, this is not true in Hougang Primary School (HGPS), where students look forward to being asked questions by a ‘teaching assistant’. This ‘teaching assistant’ is a robot developed by students and staff from Ngee Ann Polytechnic. ‘Coddie’ the robot works once a week, and helps Mr Nishan, a mathematics teacher, in his classes. Coddie will deliver part of the lesson content in an interactive and engaging way, ask questions, encourage and remind students and conduct assessments. This will enable Mr Nishan to better observe the students’ performance and offer more personalised guidance during class. Coddie will also record the students’ performance in and share it with the teacher in real time. In addition, students will be able to learn programming and develop computational thinking skills. It allows students to write simple programming scripts to define its actions. “We’ve specially designed a robot that is easy to use and program. We also hope to involve students in writing programming scripts – that way, they get to learn IT skills and can program the robot to perform any other tasks,” said NP lecturer Li Yinbei.  “Learning is more interesting and cool with a robot,” said Lin Junzhi, a Primary 4 student at HGPS.

NP students Zhu Jiahao and Quan Ye Ru are grateful to have been given the opportunity to develop the robot. “It was satisfying to see the students really enjoying their lessons,” said Jiahao. Ye Ru agreed: “I learnt that it was important to understand user needs before developing any product.”

Lianhe Zaobao © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.