This article aims to reflect on the main variables that make social robotics efficient in an educational and rehabilitative intervention. Social robotics is based on imitation, and the study is designed for children affected by profound autism, aiming for the development of their social interactions. Existing research, at the national and international levels, shows how children with autism can interact more easily with a robotic companion rather than a human peer, considering its less complex and more predictable actions. This contribution also highlights how using robotic platforms helps in teaching children with autism basic social abilities, imitation, communication and interaction; this encourages them to transfer the learned abilities to human interactions with both adults and peers, through human–robot imitative modelling. The results of a pilot study conducted in a kindergarten school in the Liguria region are presented. The study included applying a robotic system, at first in a dyadic child–robot relation, then in a triadic one that also included another child, with the aim of eliciting social and imitative abilities in a child with profound autism.
This paper presents a research experience (case study) on the use of digital technologies for the development of the ability to invent stories for images in a collaborative way, in some nurseries (0-3 years) and in some kindergartens in La Spezia. We have involved in the experience: the sections of the older children of the nursery (3 years); the heterogeneous sections of kindergarten, with the aim of presenting different educational activities and technologies (PC, tablet, projector ...) - prepared by educators-teachers and researchers - in an immersive environment to enable children to enter into the image and interact with it. The collaborative activities have also predicted the use of i- Theatre, an interactive integrated system for the narrative creation of multimedia stories. During the activities, educators and researchers conducted free observations that aim to bring out possible elements of transferability of the experience and set the second stage of work (model of research-training).