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Robots for Kids: Exploring New Technologies for Learning (Interactive Technologies) Paperback – April 12, 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Within the sphere of children's learning and play, the concept of robot and the application of actual robots are undergoing a dramatic expansion. Here the term "robot" refers to a growing range of interactive devices-including toys, pets, assistants to the disabled, and overtly educational tools-which are being used in ways that are expected to have profound and beneficial effects on how our children develop and grow.

Robots for Kids: Exploring New Technologies for Learningopens with contributions from leading designers and researchers, each offering a unique perspective into the challenge of developing robots specifically for children. The second part is devoted to the stories of educators who work with children using these devices, exploring new applications and mapping their impact. Throughout the book, essays by children are included that discuss their first-hand experiences and ideas about robots. This is an engaging, entertaining, and insightful book for a broad audience, including HCI, AI, and robotics researchers in business and academia, new media and consumer product developers, robotics hobbyists, toy designers, teachers, and education researchers.


  • contributions by leaders in the fields of human-computer interaction and robotics
  • product development stories told by leading designers and researchers in organizations such as Microsoft, MIT Media Lab, Disney, and Sony
  • product application stories told by educators who are making robots a central part of kids' learning experiences, both in and out of the classroom
  • essays by kids-some, users of robotic technology, and others, designers in their own right

About the Author

Allison Druin is assistant professor at the University of Maryland, both in the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies and the College of Education in the Department of Human Development. Her recent work has focused on developing-with children as her design partners-new robotic storytelling technologies. Druin is the editor of The Design of Children's Technology and coauthor of Designing Multimedia Environments for Children (John Wiley & Sons, 1996).

Jim Hendler is the Tetherless World Senior Constellation Chair at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he has appointments in the Department of Computer Science and the Cognitive Science Dept. He also serves as the Associate Director of the Web Science Research Initiative headquartered at MIT. Hendler has authored about 200 technical papers in the areas of artificial intelligence, Semantic Web, agent-based computing and high performance processing. One of the inventors of the "Semantic Web," Hendler was the recipient of a 1995 Fulbright Foundation Fellowship, is a former member of the US Air Force Science Advisory Board, and is a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and the British Computer Society. He is also the former Chief Scientist of the Information Systems Office at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), was awarded a US Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Medal in 2002, and is a member of the World Wide Web Consortium's Semantic Web Coordination Group. He is the Editor in Chief of IEEE Intelligent Systems and is the first computer scientist to serve on the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science.


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Product Details

  • Series: Interactive Technologies
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 1 edition (April 12, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558605975
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558605978
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,708,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By I-ming Chen on May 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
With inexpensive yet powerful computing power and electronics, autonomous robots find a plethora of applications: toys, entertainment, education, and interactive services. Robots for Kids comes at the right time of this new application era. This book focuses on the roles of robotics in education. The first part of the book contains four chapters on the new robotic technology for the kids. As a robotics researcher, I am delighted to read the development history of the LEGO Mindstorms Robotics Invention System starting from its incubation period in MIT's Media Lab. The chapter on Sony's AIBO provides inside look on the hardware and software design and integration of this popular robot. For people interested in developing intelligent robots, this is a very informative chapter. The chapter on a robotic storytelling environment showed how to incorporate state-of-art technology to elementary school education. However, the chapter on the story behind the scene of a high-tech toy product development is the most intriguing experience. One can never expect the product development cycle for those high-tech interactive toys, such as the Furby, to be so complicate.
The second part of this book contains five chapters on using robotics in education, from elementary school teaching, high school robotics competitions, university outreach program, to robotics summer camps. For educators, this part of the book provides quite detailed descriptions about how the robotics activities are organized, responses from the students and the impact of using robotics in modern education.
One interesting part of this book is the inclusion of kids' responses to using robots as educational tools.
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This is a very decent collection of individually authored chapters from various groups of educators and engineers working in the field of robotics for teaching and for play. Most of the information presented is anecdotal and case-study, giving what seems to be a good overview of the current state of the art (particularly the state of the art in schools). Some of the reference sections at the end of the chapters point to very good articles that help ground one in the theory of techno-literacy.
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Format: Paperback
Wow! I just got done reading this book for the second time in a row. I loved it! I also would like to add that I just got done with my Senior thesis of "Robots: America's Answer to Dwindling Math Scores". (I also just sent it in to be published! ;D) I admit, my first reading was for content. The second reading was solely for pleasure. Of the 20 sources I used on my 23 page case study, this book became my 'bible.' Nothing I found on this topic compares.
This book is an assortment of well chosen essays in which Druin and Hendler are the editors. My favorite essay regards the FIRST robotics competition. Everything is detailed from the educational impact, mentor how-to's, and student development to gaining corporate sponsorship, student interviews, and a winning team's success story. The book is worth buying just for this essay alone.
However, the various essays regarding Lego Mindstorms are superb as well. One essay details a step-by-step process of how to mimic her "Robocamp." Another from MIT profs explains how Mindstorms came to existence. There are also various case studies regarding the educational research with children and Lego's done in different parts of the world. One can't help but walk away from this book thinking that our "old school" curriculum must be updated with these new enticing technologies!
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