One pupil at a Surrey primary school has been utilising virtual technology to help her keep-up with learning by sending a robot into class.
The robot is controlled by the pupil, and gives her the opportunity to be with her friends and classmates even though she cannot be in school physically.
Cuddington Croft Primary enlisted some cutting-edge technology when a Year 5 pupil was forced to take several months off school due to serious illness.
To enable Alexia to continue her studies remotely, the school arranged for an AV1 robot to attend lessons in her place, allowing the youngster to join her classmates virtually.
“The robot was on a table at school, and when Alexia was on, it would ‘come to life’, and its head could rotate to see the classroom,” said Mike Skelton, Head Teacher at Cuddington Croft, part of the GLF Schools Multi Academies Trust.
“The aim of the AV1 was to help the pupil to attend lessons while they were unable to be there in person,” explained Alexia’s teacher, April Riley. “It’s been brilliant at making that connection between the pupil and the class. It’s mainly for them to join in, listen to the lessons, and still feel part of the class.
“The first few times the pupil came online it was very exciting, and the other children were interested to see how it moved and when the eyes changed et cetera. However, it didn’t take much time before it started to feel normal.”
“What’s great is that they can log on and show off their learning and their work,” she continued. “That made them feel like they had done their part, and I think that sense of achievement was really important.
“We had a great example of this in our last English unit where everyone had to read a speech. The pupil came online and read their speech through the AV1, and everyone cheered afterwards.”
The portable robot was provided with the help of the Surrey County Council Access to Education Team.
“I really love my robot, as I can join in with the lessons in class with my friends and my teacher, and interact with them,” said Alexia, who is currently making a phased return to school. “It also makes me feel like I am in the classroom with everyone and lets me see everyone without being seen, as sometimes I don’t feel well.
“It allows me to answer questions and to change the colour if I don’t feel well but still want to listen into the lesson. Then my teacher knows I am there but might not ‘put up my hand’ to answer questions.
“I prefer to be in class, but sometimes that’s not possible because I am not well, but it still helps me to feel included in the class.”
“This technology allowed a child to feel included within her class during the toughest period of her and her family’s lives,” added Mr Skelton. “It added a sense of normality and togetherness that could not have been achieved through sending work home.”