Robot technology transforms access to learning for pupils in need
When a pupil is unable to attend school due to long term sickness or other medical reasons, learning and contact with school has always been severely limited.
While Berkhamsted’s attendance record is good, any individual can face an unfortunate circumstance which prevents them from attending school for a sustained period. Consequently, pupils will miss out on learning and indeed socialising with friends.
However, when a pupil can’t attend class in person, how can technology ensure the learning can continue?
We are working with a company called ‘No Isolation’ who specialise in communications technology. AV1 is the distance learning avatar that makes it possible for our children with a long-term illness to take part at school via an app on their phone or tablet.
It allows pupils the virtual reality of attending school when they are unable to physically do so; and still be able socialise with classmates helping them to remain connected with their school community.
It is so important to help minimise the impact that school absence can have on a child’s friendships, mental wellbeing and future prospects. Using the robot will ensure that our pupils remain an active part of their school community, and ease the transition of the pupil back into full-time education when it is possible to do so.
We have been using the AV1 avatar over the last few weeks and have seen how effective this can be for everyone involved. I have seen the positive experiences for a current pupil who can’t attend school at present and for the pupils in the classroom as well. The avatar has been there not only during lessons but also during house time and break times, continuing the strong social bonds our pupils have with each other.
The technology enables an amazing interaction between the absent pupil and the classroom. A camera is built into the robot streams live footage from the classroom so that the pupil can see their teacher, while a speaker allows them to ask questions as if they were physically present. The robot even flashes different colours to indicate to the teacher how the child is feeling. I am so pleased we can provide this learning opportunity in such an innovative way. The teachers who are using the avatar in their lessons have been fantastic in immersing themselves with the process and their interaction with the AV1 has been what has made this initiative a huge success.
The introduction of the AV1 avatar into Berkhamsted has been an exciting journey for all involved. Currently there are around 400 AV1s in use in the UK and I am so pleased the community here at Berkhamsted has been able to be a part of this incredible use of technology for the pupils benefit.
Wellbeing initiatives at Berkhamsted enable pupils to flourish.