CoWriting Kazakh: Learning a new script with a robot

Anara Sandygulova, Wafa Johal, Zhanel Zhexenova, Bolat Tleubayev, Aida Zhanatkyzy, Aizada Turarova, Zhansaule Telisheva, Anna CohenMiller, Thibault Asselborn, Pierre Dillenbourg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Citations (Scopus)


In the Republic of Kazakhstan, the transition from Cyrillic to Latin alphabet raises challenges to training an entire population in writing the new script. This paper presents a CoWriting Kazakh system, an extension of the existing CoWriter system, aiming to implement an autonomous social robot that would assist children in transition from the old Cyrillic alphabet to a new Latin alphabet. With the aim to investigate which learning strategy yields better learning gains, we conducted an experiment with 67 children, aged 8-11 years old, who interacted with a robot in a CoWriting Kazakh learning scenario. Participants were asked to teach a humanoid NAO robot how to write Kazakh words using one of the scripts, Latin or Cyrillic. We hypothesized that a scenario in which the child is asked to mentally convert the word to Latin would be more effective than having the robot perform conversion itself. Results show that the CoWriter was successfully applied to this new script-switching task. The findings also suggest interesting gender differences in the preferred method of learning with the robot.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHRI 2020 - Proceedings of the 2020 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781450367462
Publication statusPublished - Mar 9 2020
Event15th Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction, HRI 2020 - Cambridge, United Kingdom
Duration: Mar 23 2020Mar 26 2020

Publication series

NameACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction
ISSN (Electronic)2167-2148


Conference15th Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction, HRI 2020
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • Child learning
  • Gender differences
  • Human-Robot Interaction
  • Language learning
  • NAO
  • Social Robot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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