Virtual inclusion via telepresence robots in the classroom. (Extended Abstract)
The recent development of telepresence robots provides the opportunity for virtual inclusion to students who are not able to attend school due to medical conditions. Every year, large numbers of K-12 students are not able to attend class due to illness. Extended absence from the classroom has negative and overlapping educational, social, and medical consequences as students may fall behind in instruction, feel isolated from their peers, and experience difficulties in their recovery due to loneliness and depression. The recent development of telepresence robots provides a possible means for addressing this situation. Preliminary results from a local case study on the use of these robots in a public school system indicate that virtual inclusion may provide significant improvements in the educational, social, and healthcare experiences of this vulnerable population.