Tes Awards 2020: Best use of technology winner

How Hospital and Outreach Education AP Academy use this robot in class is a ‘true area of promise’
13th November 2020, 8:34pm

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Tes Awards 2020: Best use of technology winner

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/tes-awards-2020-best-use-technology-winner
Best Use Of Technology 2020

The Hospital and Outreach Education AP Academy, in Northamptonshire, thoroughly impressed judges for its use of technology to help children who are too ill to attend school.

Lead judge Ty Goddard, co-founder of The Education Foundation and chair of Edtech UK, said that how the school uses technology is not only heartwarming but is a "true area of promise".

AV1 is a friendly robot, which sits in class to be the eyes, ears and voice of a child who cannot attend school owing to physical or mental health reasons. It has a one-way webcam and a two-way speaker, and can be controlled using a phone or a tablet.

AV1 doesn't just help the student to catch up on lessons, it lets the them interact with classmates and the teacher, enabling them to feel part of the school community and allaying the loneliness that can arise from being at home or in hospital for long periods of time.

The parent of one child, who was extremely ill with cancer, said that when they were using AV1 to join his class, it was "one hour of pure joy, when he was just a normal boy". 

Another child, who had been taught in hospital in isolation for six months, found that using AV1 meant she was "unphased and undaunted" at the prospect of going back to school after treatment, as she never lost connection with her classmates.

Mr Goddard said: "These are tough times for schools and colleges, teachers, parents and pupils; but these nominations for the Tes awards shine through with optimism.

He said they embodied "the spirit of 'can-do' and 'try again', celebrating the work of educators and pupils. It's an honour to be a judge, to read and learn of the fabulous work going on across our country." 

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