Building on the success of Australia’s first school telepresence robot service, See-Be, the nonprofit is accelerating its groundbreaking initiative, Seen&Heard, launched as a one-year pilot in February 2023, thanks to a Commonwealth grant and seed funding from TPG Telecom Foundation.
Seen&Heard is driving the adoption of “teach once” telepresence technology (including robots) in schools and offering real-time assistance to students and their families, training teachers, fostering peer support, and producing world-leading research.
MissingSchool CEO and Co-Founder Megan Gilmour says:
“MissingSchool wants to see schools become flexible learning centres suitable to all students’ needs. Just as schools provide wheelchair ramps, they must adopt synchronous telepresence technology to support students who can’t be there.
Telepresence technology enables continuous learning from anywhere, and should be included in schools’ transformation agenda, in Australia and globally. It offers students with medical absences continuity of classroom access, consistent curriculum, equality of opportunity, and learning alongside peers.
Telepresence technology also lets teachers teach lessons once, easing already stretched workloads and classroom complexity.
The recent pandemic emphasised the essential role of technology during health crises, and created a world in which “work from anywhere” has become a mainstay. Schools, post-COVID, can turn telepresence back on and follow workplaces into the 21st century by championing a “learn from anywhere” system for students who can’t physically attend.
This change is not only necessary, it’s immediately achievable at scale. The technology is already in schools.”