عنوان مقاله [English]
For over 50 years, a great deal of effort has been expended on improving human efficiency by utilizing robots. Improvements in robotics technology have opened new possibilities for its effective use in social, cultural, therapeutic, and economic fields. As a result of successful collaboration between scientists in the fields of engineering, humanities, computer, robotics, and psychology, a new science-research cross-disciplinary area of Social Robotics has evolved. Robots have been previously developed for various purposes and needs, and now we are exploring its application in English language teaching and learning. With the proliferation of computers and mobile devices, Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) and Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL)
have been in the limelight of second language instructional theories for about a decade or more. Robots not only have the features and interfaces already being employed in CALL and MALL, but are also capable of autonomous movement,visual and voice recognition, and physical and environmental interaction when equipped with various sensors. Additionally, robots are different from computers and mobile devices in that they have a friendly appearance and are capable of developing social relations. In this paper, the effect of a humanoid shaped robot as a teaching tool and/or assistant in English language classrooms in Iranian high schools is reported. The textbook used was the English book (Prospect-1) devised by the Iranian Ministry of Education for 7th graders, and the vocabulary taught and tested was taken from this book. Moreover, the treatment given by a teacher accompanied by a humanoid robot assistant in the RALL group took about 5 weeks, during which, half of the book was covered, and the non-RALL group was taught in a traditional method. This article covers an overview of the subject and our current activities/findings in the interdisciplinary field of Robotics Assisted Language Learning (RALL) in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classes, and as a case study for the broader field of Social Robotics in Iran.