Ocean City Today

Double Robot option for students

By Kara Hallissey | Mar 01, 2018
Courtesy of: Carrie Sterrs Double Robot, a Segway with an iPad and amplified speaker attached, allows students to pilot from remote locations using arrows on a keyboard of any device as it goes from class-to-class.

(March 2, 2018) Double Robot, a new option for homebound and hospital-bound students, was introduced with the help of Snow Hill 10th grader, Chloe Goddard, during the monthly Worcester County Board of Education meeting, last week.

Students, from remote locations, can pilot the robot using arrows on a keyboard of any device as it goes from class-to-class.

Double Robot, based out of California, is a Segway with an iPad and amplified speaker attached.

Diane Stulz, coordinator of digital learning for Worcester County Schools, explained how students with a chronic illness or those who cannot physically be in school all the time benefit from using a robot. She said students not in school miss valuable instruction, labs, group work, and interaction with their peers.

“Students can sit through their classes, ask questions and participate,” Stulz said. “Another student carries it to the next one [since the robot moves slowly] and they aren’t missing out on what is going on in school.”

Goddard was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease in sixth grade and missed a number of days of school, which made her the ideal student to pilot Double Robot at Snow Hill High School this year.

“She is a straight-A student, taking AP classes,” Stulz said. “She has doctor’s appointments across the bridge and can participate in class during the drive. We are really excited to provide this opportunity to students. You miss a lot without classroom instruction.”

Generally, a teacher visits homebound and hospital-bound students for several hours a week, which is costly, Stulz said.

“Home and hospital instructors are classroom teachers who come after school and kids are tired,” Stulz said. “This gives students the opportunity to have a regular school day with instruction from their teacher.”

Currently, Worcester County Schools has three robots with the hopes of receiving a $15,000 Maryland State Department grant to purchase several others. Each Double Robot costs $3,742.

“What a great opportunity for students to keep in touch with classmates and feel a part of high school,” Stulz said. “We are also thinking of using robots for AP classes taught at one high school, but not offered at others. Students can virtually attend and be a part of the group.”

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