Thus far, NAO and other humanoid robots are commonly used successfully to help teach children STEM subjects, as well as help children with autism learn social skills. But there is one education program using NAO in a completely different way - and with some very promising results.
Dr. Ellie Kazemi is a behavior analyst who is using NAO in a very unique way. She is currently a Professor of Psychology and the Academic Director of the Masters of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis Program at California State University, Northridge (CSUN.) For her research, she and her students are using NAO to simulate a child with problem behavior in order to find helpful strategies in training caregivers (staff, teachers, etc.) how to deal with problem behavior.
Dr. Kazemi has been able to secure some research and training funds to purchase three NAOs, warranties, and licenses to engage research assistants in science and technology. The funds were provided through the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the National Institute of Health-Build Poder.
Programming NAO to display undesirable behavior (i.e., to be “bad”) and then running simulations helps the students learn in hands-on labs. The team has the robot throw tantrums, hit himself, and more - even programming in variations so he looks and acts a little different in each simulation. This gives them a lot of control in the types of behavior the person they are training gets to see.
Benjamin Durham is a science teacher at Lane Technical High School in Chicago who has been using NAO in Robotics 2 and Adaptive Robotics. In Robotics 2, an intermediate-level robotics class, students use both Choregraphe and Python to program NAO. Many of these students have aspirations of going into medical or social work, and wanted hands-on experience of what robots might be able to do in these fields.