“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”
– C.S. Lewis
Across the MissingSchool community, there are so many teachers who are, every day, finding new and creative ways to integrate our telepresence robots into their classrooms.
This week, we acknowledge teachers who go above and beyond by creating classroom environments that enable students with medical and mental health conditions to join in via technology.
For example, some teachers have moved classrooms to better accommodate a class including a robot, one taped robot “roadways” on to the floor so the student can drive through the environment confidently, and others simply follow our Checklist For Successto make the technology integration work wonderfully for everyone in the room.
Getting peers ready to receive the robot in their classroom is super important. Here we recommend adjustments to classroom routines and lesson plans that include:
- Nominating a “chaperone” or “buddy” to assist setup, manoeuvring, and making sure the technology is in place, charged and ready
- Considering where to place the technology in the classroom so the remote student has a good view of the teacher and instructional materials, without blocking other students’ view
- Ensuring noise levels in the classroom are managed so conversations between the remote student and classmates can be handled by the technology’s microphone and audio system
- Providing frequent opportunities for students to interact “one-on-one” through the technology (encourages telepresence as “normal” in the classroom)
- Considering how to manage activities which require physical manipulation of resources – e.g. in a science laboratory – so the remote student can still participate as fully as possible.
Of course, top of the list is what teachers tell the class about the technology – and why it is so important for their absent friend – before it arrives. Even a little storyboard of information, like that shown here can do an incredible job of including the student who has been missing school.
“Cultivating the space for meaningful relationships and learning together by planning beats hoping any day.”
We will keep celebrating teachers who create effective narratives to help their students get excited about the presence of their peers through technology. These teachers are not only broadening concepts of inclusion but also courageously embracing the 21st-century fact that hybrid ways of working are here to stay. Why shouldn’t it start in the classroom?
The success of the MissingSchool community would not be possible without the hard work of each and every teacher who goes above and beyond to support their students.
And of course we are all supported by you, our community, who work in your own way to build a world in which every child is seen and heard.
Our connection to our community is vital, and it would be impossible for us to stay the course without your incredible support.
There are many ways to help:
- follow along and cheer us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
- share this newsletter with your family, friends, or colleagues so we can reach more sick kids, and
- donate towards getting a seriously sick child back into their classroom.
Every action moves us closer to the finish line: a world where every sick child is seen and heard.
Let’s keep connecting.