In L2TOR, a social robot is being developed that can teach preschool children a second language. It studies how much the children learn from a robot in different situations. In some cases, for example, they compare how children learn when they play language games either with a robot and a tablet, with a peer and a tablet or with a tablet only.
Young children have a special talent for learning a new language quickly and easily. The younger the children are when they start to learn a second language, the better they will be able to master it later on. Nowadays, children often only learn a second language at an older age from teachers (or others) who often do not speak the language perfectly themselves. It also appears that children learn more one-to-one, whereas the teacher at school usually does not have the time to work with children on a one-to-one basis. A robot can be used to support children in learning a language one-to-one and at an early age. The results of the research will help us develop the robot in such a way that children learn as much as possible from the language lessons and enjoy participating in them. The aim is for the lessons to be both fun and educational.
The L2TOR project is a European collaboration between 5 universities and 2 companies, with Utrecht University and Tilburg University being the two Dutch partners. Other partners are Bielefeld University (Germany), Plymouth University (UK), Koç University (Turkey), SoftBank Robotics Europe (France) and QBMT/Zora Robotics (Belgium).