Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Making a Difference with Telepresence

Imagine being a student who can't attend school with their peers due to a chronic illness or disability.  Children who aren't attending school in the traditional manner may be able to keep up with schoolwork through online education but they miss out on the social aspect of going to school.  How can we help children who can't attend school?  With the VGo Robot, children can attend class, move between classes on their own and talk with teachers and peers using the new telepresence technology.  VGo goes to school while the student stays home.  It provides a richer form of engagement made possible by the Internet, a two-way camera, microphone and speaker, all of which are house in a robot-like motorized device.

VGo has helped many students already.  Derek Hall is a high school senrio being treated for cancer at the Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children's Medical Cente rin Texas.  Using a laptop computer to control VGo from his hospital bed, he is able to take advanced placement courses and dual credit courses earning college credit.

Max LaDue, a seventh grader in North Carolina, also uses VGo.  Mas misses up to 100 days of school due to stomach migraines, which cause intense abdominal cramping.  While Max has a dedicated homebound teacher, the 12-year old misses the social interaction of going to school.  Using the VGo, he is able to make friends with other students. 

The Simon Technology Center currently has two VGo Robots available for loan through the Lending Library.  If you or someone you know is interested in borrowing a VGo Robot, please contact us at 952-838-9000 or at stc@pacer.org.

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