It will allow students to attend classes without being there in person.
Baltimore, Md. (KM). School systems around the state will be able to apply for grants this spring to purchase remote classroom technology. The Maryland State Department of Education says it’s set aside $15,000 for each of the state;s 24 school systems.
“It’s educational technology to allow some sort of robot or computer to provide an in-classroom experience for students who often for medical reasons are unable to go to school,” says MSDE spokesman Bill Reinhard. The Department says the robot will have a computer tablet connected with the student’s computer tablet which will allow the student to be a part of classroom activities, such as asking the teacher questions, participating in discussion and taking tests.
Reinhard says MSDE officials and the State Board of Education have seen this technology at work. He says a student in Anne Arundel County couldn’t come to class because she was quite ill, and vulnerable to infections. “A robot was her eyes and ears in the classroom,” says Reinhard. “It allowed her to interact with fellow students, with the teacher, ask questions, much as a student in the class would do.”
Despite it’s high tech characteristics, Reinhard says this remote classroom technology is not as expensive as it may seem. “The technology has become surprisingly affordable,” he says. “There’s couple of companies that do it..”
All 24 school districts in Maryland will have the opportunity to apply for these grants. “It’s not competitive. We have the money for every school system. We just want to make sure they understand what the money’s for,” says Reinhard.
The funding for these grants comes from :Peyton’s Law which was signed last year by Governor Larry Hogan. It’s named after Peyton Walton, a Montgomery County student who used this remote classroom technology to keep up to date on her studies while undergoing radiation therapy to treat rare type of cancer.
By Kevin McManus