Meaning-focused foreign language instruction via telepresence robots: A geosemiotic analysis

Jian Liao, Xiaofei Lu, Katherine A. Masters, Zhi Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many studies have demonstrated that teaching a foreign language in settings outside of the classroom can improve the communicative use of the target language. However, many places remain inaccessible to learners due to physical limits of mobility and health, socioeconomic factors, or political or temporal restraints. Our previous studies have shown that telepresence robots are successful in immersing learners in remote places for learning a foreign language. The aim of this study is to analyze, through the theoretical lens of geosemiotics, how dialogic interaction between different semiotic systems emerges within the use of telepresence technology to understand how these systems shape discourse and meaning-making processes. It also considers what instructional strategies support such meaning-making with telepresence robotics, and what meaning-making principles can help improve the design of the robot. Initial findings show that properly planning the use of specific places provides ample opportunity for semiotic systems to shape the instructors’ and students’ meaning-making processes. Future research is needed to address some of the challenges to participants that are related to the design of the robot.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Computer Science Applications

Cite this