Handwriting is of of the most challenging skills to acquire and its acquisition is greatly dependent on training. The CoWriter Project investigates how children can learn how to write with a robot.

In CoWiter the children are the teachers who help the robot to better write. This paradigm, known as “learning by teaching”, has several powerful effects: it boosts the children’ self-esteem, gets them to practise handwriting without even noticing, and engage them into a particular interaction with the robot called the “protégé effect”: because they unconsciously feel that they are somehow responsible if the robot does not succeed in improving its writing skills, they commit to the interaction, and make particular efforts to figure out what is difficult for the robot. This supports the development of children’s metacognitive skills and reflections on their own errors.

Principal investigators: Aude Billard, Pierre Dillenbourg, Ana Paiva.

Team: Patrícia Alves-Oliveira, Shruti Chandra, Alexis Jacques, Waja Johal, Séverin Lemaignan, Pedro Sequeira, Hang Yin.

Funding: CoWriter is a collaboration between EPFL, INESC-ID, GAIPS, and Instituto Superior Técnico.