I am constantly amazed by the things technology has evolved to do.
If you’d told me 15 years ago that we’d move past dial-up internet and have the sheer amount of information at our fingertips that we do today, I’m not sure I would have believed you. Honestly, I still hear that AOL dial-up tone in my head sometimes - is it just occasional nostalgia, or am I going a little nuts? Probably both.
People are always finding new ways to make technology work for us, and especially for kids, who have grown up in a time unlike any we experienced as children. From online schooling, to the first ever FDA-approved video game treatment for ADHD, and now Moxie, a robot designed to help kid with social-emotional learning, technology continues to find ways to make life a little easier.
A couple weeks ago, this advertisement appeared in front of a YouTube video I was watching:
Initially, I was like “WTF?” and about to click through, but then I paused. I worked with kids for a long time before coming to Stardock, and something about this tugged at my heart and made me watch through the end.
I know that technology isn’t the answer to everything; in fact, there are definitely times when I would advocate for less screen time for kids and so on. But, I have also been the teacher in that classroom with a kiddo who struggles to connect with their peers, or who just doesn’t feel safe or comfortable advocating for themselves and their needs.
Moxie is presented by a start-up robotics company called Embodied and is designed to “help promote social, emotional, and cognitive development through everyday play-based learning and captivating content.” Now, it’s not like the idea of these social robots is new, but this one is different.
Unlike other social robots, Moxie specializes in one thing - emotional development - and keeps its interactions focused there, rather than trying to be an over-generalized robotic friend. By having short 15-20 minute interactions with Moxie daily, kids will be able to lessen that interaction and hopefully apply what they’ve learned to other social relationships.
The short daily interactions provided by Moxie are supposed to help aid in learning communication skills. From Embodied’s website:
“With Moxie, children can engage in meaningful play, every day, with content informed by the best practices in child development and early childhood education. Every week is a different theme such as kindness, friendship, empathy or respect, and children are tasked to help Moxie with missions that explore human experiences, ideas, and life skills.
These missions are activities that include creative unstructured play like drawing, mindfulness practice through breathing exercises and meditation, reading with Moxie, and exploring ways to be kind to others. Moxie encourages curiosity so children discover the world and people around them.
All these activities help children learn and safely practice essential life skills such as turn taking, eye contact, active listening, emotion regulation, empathy, relationship management, and problem solving.”
Personal feelings on efficiency aside, this technology is really cool. It could really help some struggling kids out, or it could just get thrown on the pile of failed attempts - it’s hard to say right now.
What do you think about a robot like this? Share your thoughts with me!