Innovate to Educate Entry
Anne Arundel County Public Schools
Stephanie Kelly, Senior Manager Instructional Technology
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|Virtual Inclusion; Homebound Students Attend Class Via a Robot|
What innovative technology initiative or project are you most proud of, and how has it improved teaching and learning in your school/district?Inclusion of a telepresence robot for distance learning of home and hospital students. This experience was valuable as now homebound students are able to have real time access to learning and still experience the social learning that being in the classroom provides. Students who cannot attend class due to serious illnesses are isolated to learn independently with the help of a home and hospital teacher who meets with them approximately 6 hours a week. This is only for core classes and does not include elective courses or involvement in clubs. Using the robot allows a student to interact with their classmates and be included in activities that learning in isolation at home cannot provide. It is very important to the healing process to be around friends and not socially isolated. Laughter and purpose helps with healing. Not being able to come to class, going through treatment, and having to be in quarantine is a sad and lonely process. With the help of a robot the student can engage with their class with the use of their computer. Whether they are at home or in the hospital they can participate with their teacher and classmates and feel a part of the school environment. Traditionally chronically ill children did not have an option but with the use of a robot those options have changed.
You can view a video case study here.
What were some of the biggest challenges to your initiative, and how did you meet those challenges?Strategic positioning and training. We had to address parents, administration, and teachers that having a robot travel through the school wouldn't be a distraction or impede the learning process. Also admin was afraid of teacher pushback. Our office worked with all parties involved to provide training and implementation stategies. Within a week everything was up and running and everyone was on board. The robot became the student and everyone treated the robot as they has treated him just as before he had to leave school due to his illness. Fear of the unknown was the drawback but heavy hearts to help the student overcame the fear. The staff wanted to help the student and they overcame their fear which proved to be a wonderful experience for everyone involved.
What are the three biggest components that need to be in place for tech innovation to succeed are:
Infrastructure-a robust wireless network with no drop out points (full wireless coverage)
|Teacher/admin training and acceptance|
|Home access to a computer to manipulate the robot|