Homebound third-grader thrilled to be back in classroom via robot pilot program
What: Homebound third-grader thrilled to be back in classroom via robot pilot program
Robot enables the student to be “in attendance” with her peers while recuperating in the safety and comfort of her home
When: Wednesday, March 6, 10:30-11:15 a.m.
Where: Foster Elementary School, 6718 Pecan Valley Dr.
San Antonio ISD has launched a pilot program for students who are too sick to physically attend school—helping them participate via a robot on their home campus. A Foster ES student is the first in the pilot program. The robot enables the student to see the teacher, the materials on the board and even her classmates while those on campus can see the student’s face on a screen that acts as the robot’s “face.”
SAISD is working with VGo Communications, Inc., which developed the robot originally for medical settings. It is the first time the robot has been used in a classroom in South Texas, making SAISD one of five school districts in the state to use this technology and one of about 30 in the country.
The robot operates simply with an internet-connected computer equipped with audio capabilities and a webcam.
At any given time, 50 to 55 SAISD students are confined to home due to illness for periods of time ranging from four weeks to several months. These students are served by the District’s Homebound Team, which includes 8 full-time teachers and several part-time teachers who visit students’ homes and provide instruction one-on-one.
Though the traditional model of the teacher visiting the home works well as a way of keeping students caught up in their academic work, a convincing body of research indicates that children are healthier and happier when not separated from their peers during a prolonged illness. With this in mind, the District has been experimenting with high-tech alternatives to the conventional model.