News and events Tilburg University

Engaging with Robots - Workshop and Thesis Defense by Mirjam de Haas

Published: 14th April 2022 Last updated: 25th April 2022

On Wednesday April 20th, the CSAI department at Tilburg University hosts a workshop on engaging with robots and AI. Especially in situations where humans need to interact with robots for a longer period of time, the motivation to do so is dependent on their ongoing engagement. PhD candidate Mirjam de Haas studied this engagement as part of the Horizon 2020 L2TOR project, which is focused on robots teaching preschoolers a second language.

Increasingly, digital instruments of various kinds support teachers in their work. Humanoid robots have an advantage over screen-based tools through their embodiment and their increased ability to act as a social agent. Mirjam’s research uncovers the effect robots can have on children’s engagement in the lesson, as well as the perception children form of the robot as a teacher, fellow student, or friend. 

The morning starts with a workshop* including various speakers: 

10:00 - 10:10  Welcome
10:10 - 10:30  Rianne van den Berghe (Windesheim University of Applied Sciences) - The Use of Social Robots in a Translanguaging Pedagogy 
10:30 - 10:50  Tibor Bosse (Radboud University) - Exploring Moral Considerations Towards Social Robots
10:50 - 11:10  Pieter Spronck (Tilburg University) - Procedural Content Generation in Games
11:10 - 11:30 Break 
11:30 - 11:50  Emilia Barakova (Eindhoven University of Technology) - Social Robots as Motivators in Musical Instrument Practicing 
11:50 - 12:10  Koen Hindriks (Vrije Universiteit) - Conversational Design for a Robot Math Tutor 

 * there are still a few places available, please contact the CSAI department office 

After a lunch break, we continue at 14:00 with the thesis defense of Mirjam de Haas, entitled "Staying engaged in child-robot interaction: A quantitative approach to studying preschoolers’ engagement with robots and tasks during second-language tutoring".  

The department of course hopes to conclude this day of learning by festively welcoming the newly minted Dr. de Haas! 

You can follow the defense online.  

The Doctoral Thesis of Mirjam de Haas is available via  
You can find more information about the L2TOR project on 

Author: Lisa E. Rombout   
Image credit: Mirjam de Haas