Online classes have made it easier for people around the world to get the educations they desire, but for some students, nothing beats a real classroom setting.
The Asahi Shimbun joins Beam, a telepresence robot developed by IT instructor Morten Jacobsen and teacher Francis Norgaard from Denmark, as the robot helps 13-year-old Yusuf Warsame attend class.
Yusuf suffers from a genetic mutation that creates tumors throughout his body and requires he stay in a controlled environment to avoid harmful bacteria that students encounter daily. He controls Beam, a 5-foot-2-inch robot on three wheels with a mini-HD screen for a head, with his computer. Cameras, microphones, and speakers allow for Yusuf to participate in class.
The state school that Yusuf attends has two Beam robots and RoboKind’s Milo (Zeno in Europe), an advanced social robot that helps students with autism develop social skills, understand emotional cues, and learn self-regulating behavioral techniques. The school has found other uses for Milo beyond assisting just children with autism. He has helped engage students with attention-deficit disorders. Jacobsen and Norgaard work closely with Milo and found that students working with Milo remain focused during classes.
Jacobsen told The Asahi Shimbun Impact Journalism Day, “the robots are standard items, so it is important that we develop them and our approach to ensure that all children benefit from it. We concern ourselves with the challenges that the pupils face and finding solutions that improve their quality of life.”
The telepresence robot, Beam, is proof that technology can help children learn from anywhere, while Milo helps engage students in ways that teachers can’t. Both robots act as bridges allowing students to explore their love of technology while incorporating learning along the way.
Featured image by Janus Engel Politiken (http://politiken.dk/)