Robotkind: i-dolls in the mirror (LS-GR-39)

This learning scenario is the initial phase of a project exploring real and fictional robots in our culture. It aims to deepen students’ understanding of an era of robotic revolution.

Reflection on our ‘robotic’ future

The need for incorporating diverse cultural material in the educational content directed the project towards Europeana sources. For the principle, underlying this teaching intervention is to provide texts and tools to help students tackle social issues and go beyond the technical matters that may monopolize the STEM trend. Inspired by the methodology and the very history of action research, the project suggests a broader scope to embark on technical subjects, cross the interpretative paradigm and head to critical theories. The cornerstone of this effort is supporting reflective practices on the ways we pre-conceive, foresee (or 4C[1]) and shape our  ‘robotic’ future.

Shall we bring our own robotic toys to school?

Facing the multitude of aspects and representations falling under this goal, I was in search of narrowing down to a starting point. The category of humanoid robots, with its semiological density in actual and fantasized spaces, appeared to be a sensible option for the first lessons, but an interesting turn happened with students’ feedback. “Shall we bring our own robotic toys to school?” “Can we make something more creative in the robotics lab?”. So, we depart from our toys and our time to explore the horizons opened up with a couple of concepts: Robotic toys.

The structure is articulated as a time travel with intermediate learning snacks of information to cover the history of robotic toys. The definition of robotics is historically perceived and gradually formed by participators. The last part explores the concept of a toy and sneaks into aspects of life-like designs.

Lesson structure


  • Our toys A (Presentation of kids’ toys)
  • Our toys B (Building and programming a robotic toy)

Snack Back: Automata


Snack Back: Vintage and ‘90s

  • Lilli…put it another way/ Puppy or Puppet. (Creative Writing)

Snack to the future


  • Model 2039 (Creative thinking)

What does ‘robotics’ mean? (on definitions)

i-dolls in the mirror: Questioning life-like design (Discussion, P4C)

This learning scenario is part of a project funded by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation within the framework of the Learning together program for the school year 2018-2019.

[1] Let’s pick up Creative and Critical Thinking, Cultural Understanding, Collaboration.

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