Lexi Kinder uses VGo robot to virtually attend school. (Screenshot:
Lexi Kinder, a third-grader from Sumter, S.C., loved school. She and her best friend sat side by side in their third-grade classroom learning about everything from math to science to history. But Lexi was born with a chronic heart disorder that has recently weakened her immune system to the point that going to school is too risky for the 9-year-old. For years, Lexi had home tutors whenever her health prevented her from going to school. But this spring, Lexi was offered an alternative — a camera-and-Internet-enabled robot that moves around the classroom and streams two-way video between her school and her home computer.
Lexi can control the robot, called a VGo, from her home computer while interacting with her friends and fellow students. When she wants to get her teacher's attention, she presses a button and a light flashes on the VGo — or "Princess VGo," as Lexie has dubbed it. She has even decked out her robot in pink ribbons and a tutu to make her more fashionable in the classroom. Here's a video about Lexi and her Princess VGo:
Roughly 50 home-bound kids across the country are now using these robots to virtually attend school. At $6,000 for the initial investment plus $1,200 for yearly maintenance, the VGo is a heavy investment for budget-strapped schools. And it's not without glitches. When the robot loses its Internet connection, it shuts down and must be manually moved throughout the school. But glitches aside, for the kids who are lucky enough to use a VGo, the social interaction it provides with classmates and teachers has proved invaluable.
Do you know of any students who would benefit from a VGo?
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