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UIC Learning + Interest + Technology Lab

Social Robotics Afterschool Program


Enrollment for 5th to 7th grade students for Spring 2023 opens soon.

Email jmich@uic.edu for more information or to receive an email when registration opens

We will begin a brand new Social Robotics Afterschool Program this Spring. This three-week-long program will focus on designing SOCIAL ROBOTS with guidance from Women in CS at UIC.

There is no cost to enroll in the program. However, consent to research participation is required.

The research study requires students to:

  • Participate in 6 hours of activities over 6 days of the program
  • Complete short questionnaires each day of the program.
  • Complete a short interest survey at the beginning and end of the program.

To be eligible for the research study and the afterschool program students must be:

  • Enrolled in 4th through 7th grade at a partner school in Spring 2023

Interested parents will need to complete an online eligibility screener [Link Coming Soon] and if eligible complete an online parental permission form to sign and complete to finalize registration. This program will be part of a UIC research study that aims to find ways to support student learning in afterschool computer science programs and would benefit from understanding how students learn about computing during the program.

You may click here to download and review our consent form for the research study.

Is the LIT Lab Social Robotics Program for you?

YES! This program is focused on developing a positive culture in computer science and computing. Led by graduate researcher Rabia Ibtasar, our mentor staff is trained to build skills, confidence and a sense of belonging in computer science, robotics, and engineering - even if your dreams are outside of these fields. We meet every student at their skill level and give students the power to tailor their learning to meet their needs.

What is a social robot?

Social robots are robots that interact with humans and each other in a socially acceptable way. They listen, take turns, use appropriate ways of talking, and move around in ways that follow our social rules. Other than that it is up to your imagination what a social robot will do. Will your robot guide new visitors around a museum? Could your robot help your family play games? What if your robot behaved socially with other robots by acting in a play or taking turns? You can decide and program your robot to be what you want.

Program Format

Each day of this four-week program students get a chance to design and program a robot to engage in a wide array of social interactions - from dance parties and acting in plays, to helping with family care and playing games. Students complete hands-on activities based on curriculum developed by UIC Engineering faculty members and graduate students from the Learning + Interest + Technology Lab. The program will center each student to develop ideas around their own interests, connect with college-aged mentors, and watch their imagination come to life through robotics. During the program students will hear about potential future careers that might await them in robotics, human-computer interaction and computer science.

Cost and schedule

There is no cost to enroll in this four-week program. However, consent to research participation is required.

Forest Park District 91 Afterschool Program

  • The program runs every Tuesday and Thursday from April 11th - April 29th
  • Hours are 2:45 to 3:45 each day of the program
  • Enrollment in the research study is easy.


For more information contact Professor Joseph E Michaelis, at jmich@uic.edu.

This program is sponsored by the Learning + Interest + Technology Lab at the Learning Sciences Research Institute and the UIC Computer Science Department.