Telepresence Robots About to Shake up EducationNew technology is influencing every industry in more ways than one, and educational institutions are no exception. iPad’s on Segways—a face on a screen with the ability to be controlled via a smart device, telepresence robots connect students and teachers from various parts of the country to be in one classroom for instruction. The telepresence robot market is expected to reach $7 billion by 2022. Let’s explore how and why telepresence robots are about to shake up education.

How Telepresence Robots Benefit Students

Students miss school for various reasons—sickness, disabilities, travel, etc. With the help of telepresence robots, students can attend school regardless of these factors. Students suffering from chronic illnesses are often unable to attend school for weeks at a time. A telepresence robot—internet-enabled, autonomous, with two-way-video streaming capabilities—acts as a body surrogate for students unable to attend class for extended periods of time.

Students can control telepresence robots via a laptop or computer and partake in classroom discussions, lectures, and even field trips, allowing students who would otherwise be isolated from the classroom the social benefits that coincide with the educational benefits enabled by telepresence robots.

Many opponents of telepresence robots believe these robots devalue human connection. This belief simply isn’t true. Without the help of telepresence robots, students who would miss school on a regular basis due to an illness would be isolated not only from lessons, but also their peers. Telepresence robots provide students with a way to interact with their friends at school and can reduce absent student depression rates.

Remote Students and Telepresence Robots

The number of remote workers is on the rise, and so is the number of remote students. Many universities and secondary education providers offer multiple online classes that allow students to work through the course load on their own schedule, without ever having a face-to-face interaction faculty or other students.

Telepresence robots are enabling remote students to enroll in traditional classes and partake in lectures regardless of their location. Allowing remote students to interact with teachers and students via telepresence robots can have a major impact on their learning experience. Telepresence robots enable remote students more exploration of course content while simultaneously encouraging more inclusive and detailed interactions with peers and teachers alike.

How Telepresence Robots Benefit Educators

Telepresence robots provide just as many benefits for educators as they do for students. For teachers that frequent out-of-town conferences, telepresence robots allow them to still hold effective and inclusive lessons. Many universities have already realized the many benefits telepresence robots offer teachers.

Duke University has begun using telepresence robots for its Accelerated Bachelors of Science in Nursing program. Participants—both students and teachers—of the accelerated program have stated the telepresence robots in use have helped cultivate a better learning experience. In particular, teachers have stated the use of telepresence robots has helped develop their coaching skills, and allows them the flexibility to attend important conferences without students missing lessons.

The Takeaway

New technology like telepresence robots are shaking up education. These new robots enable both physically disabled and remote students to interact and communicate in real time. Allowing these students the freedom to engage and communicate in a classroom is an invaluable benefit provided by telepresence robots. Telepresence in education has also provided educators with a way to create a more personalized and engaging learning experience. One thing is certain—telepresence robots are going to have a lasting impact in education.

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