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With rapid advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) over the last decade, schools have increasingly employed innovative tools, intelligent applications and methods that are changing the education system with the aim of improving both user experience and learning gain in the classrooms. Even though the use of AI to education is not new, it has not unleashed its full potential yet. Much of the available research looks at educational robotics and at non-intelligent robots in education. Only recently, research has sought to assess the potential of Socially Assistive Robots (SARs), including humanoids, within the domain of classroom learning, particularly in relation to learning languages. Yet, the use of this form of AI in the field of mathematics and science constitutes a notable gap in this field. This study aims to critically review the research on the use of SARs in the pre-tertiary classroom teaching of mathematics and science. Further aim is to identify the benefits and disadvantages of such technology. Databases' search conducted between January and April 2018 yielded twenty-one studies meeting the set inclusion criteria for our systematic review. Findings were grouped into four major categories synthesising current evidence of the contribution of SARs in pre-tertiary education: learning gain, user experience, attitude, and usability of SARs within classroom settings. Overall, the use of SARs in pre-tertiary education is promising, but studies focussing on mathematics and science are significantly under-represented. Further evidence is also required around SARs' specific contributions to learning more broadly, as well as enabling/impeding factors, such as SAR's personalisation and appearance, or the role of families and ethical considerations. Finally, SARs potential to enhance accessibility and inclusivity of multi-cultural pre-tertiary classroom is almost unexplored.

Original publication




Journal article


Computers and Education

Publication Date