UNESCO Chair International Seminar 2019

1 December, 2019

‘Hi, it’s Alexa: What Do You Want to Learn?’ – Teaching Robots or Robot Teachers?

UNESCO Chair’s XV International Seminar was held on December the 12th 2019. The main topic was Artificial Intelligence and its role in education. Technology is here to stay: we can assert that technology is helping students to learn more and better, giving them easier access to information and providing them with an easy way to share their knowledge and curiosity with long-distance fellows. 

But, as many researchers have pointed out, there are also many problems that have to be taken into account. For example, personalized learning can become uniformization or “mass customization” (Selwyn, 2016), based on the behaviour of the mass rather than on a particular attention to the individual. The risks of turning personalization into an excuse to make cutbacks on teacher teams is also to be considered.

Robots have been proven to be good tutors and study fellows (Belpaeme et al., 2018), helping students with autism (Fosch-Villaronga & Albó-Canals, 2018), serving as tutors in ITS (Intelligent Tutor Systems) and others. But, can robots replace teachers? The answer is that they should not, but they will probably take over some tasks. In that way, teachers could win precious time for their students.


  • Tony Belpaeme, Ghent University (BEL) and University of Plymouth (UK)
  • Jordi Albó-Casas, Tufts University, MIT Research Associate (USA)
  • David Bañeres, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)

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