Anne Arundel County Schools have won an award for the technology that has helped students graduate despite being unable to attend school.

This year, nine home-bound students in the Anne Arundel County Schools were able to learn beside their peers in classrooms thanks to a new assistive technology. Now, students who are unable to attend school, for whatever reasons, can still learn from their teachers through the use of a robotic teleconferencing system. The robotic device is maneuvered through the halls using a keyboard that the student operates from home. Atop the robot is a tablet with video conferencing enabled, so that way the student can watch and participate in lessons. Not only can students participate in class lessons, but they can also stay connected with their peers. Friendships and social bonds are one of the many things a home-bound student may miss out on, but this technology has changed that for a few fortunate students. One such student is Peter Jauschnegg. When he was a sophomore at Old Mill High School, Jauschnegg beat Ewing Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer discovered in his brain. While undergoing chemotherapy for the Sarcoma, Jauschnegg developed a form of leukemia, for which he was also treated. During treatment, his immune system was significantly weakened, making it dangerous to attend school with his peers. [caption id="attachment_2477" align="aligncenter" width="768"]Anne Arundel County Schools A look at Robot Marvin, Peter Jauschnegg, a teacher and friend.[/caption]
Thanks to Anne Arundel County's robotic technology, Jauschnegg was able to still attend school. With his robot, Marvin, Jauschnegg maintained a 3.94 GPA, took three AP classes, and became Vice President of his class. He has since recovered fully, graduated, and is now planning to attend college. Jauschnegg is not the only student to benefit from the technology. In June, Mo Gaba was able to graduate from the fifth grade at George Cromwell Elementary school thanks to this assistive technology. Gaba was left blind after battling cancer as a baby, and then, when he was a fifth grader, the cancer returned, infecting his bones. At the graduation ceremony, Mo led his classmates in the procession. He made sure to thank all the people who helped him graduate: those who helped him learn Braille, to walk with a cane, and learn math. He also thanked Mo-bot the Robot, the assistive technology that enabled him to attend class while he was in the hospital. The technology has not only helped students, but also won Anne Arundel County some awards: eSchool Media and Xirrus recognized Anne Arundel County schools for this use of technology to improve classroom access. The Innovate to Educate Award was designed to award and showcase individuals, groups, and organizations who are using technology to innovate education in America. Anne Arundel County school's telepresence robot is a prime example of this, and the district is the first the receive the award.
"As the Grand Prize winner, Anne Arundel County Public Schools will receive a multi-faceted eSchool News media package that school leaders can use to showcase and share their “Virtual Inclusion for Homebound and Hospitalized Students” program with local and national stakeholders and constituents. The award package includes a feature story in the eSchool News magazine, along with a Success Story, and a custom-designed “Innovate to Educate Winner” icon for online posting and promotion" - Innovate to Educate
Next year, Anne Arundel County schools will expand the program to include twelve assistive robots.
What do you think of this new technology? Let us know in the comments below!

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