Third Grader with Weak Immune System uses VGo to Attend School in San Antonio
They are participating in a pilot program that allows a robot to take the student to class - The VGo is about 4 feet tall with a small screen on the top and a round base on the bottom that sits on four wheels.
Miranda Garcia, a Foster Elementary School third-grader, is the first student in San Antonio to take the robot for a spin. Her favorite subjects are art and science. Trouble is, the third grader hasn't been able to attend school most of the year because of a grave illness - Lupus, which makes her immune system very fragile. Her mother says she tried to attend school for first and second grade, but got ill so often she spent most of her time at home. Since then, she's been home-schooled.
"She's gotten better at her reading, which is amazing," said Isabel Garcia, Miranda’s mom.
Part of the improvement can be contributed to the fact that Miranda can be in the class. She can see and interact with her friends and her teacher. The VGo uses the internet to give her a real-time, in-class experience. And, the VGo robot not only puts Miranda in the room, but through the use of her home computer, she can roll herself across the room and even down the hall.
"After having her in the room, it was really nice, because I got to see her face again and we hadn’t seen her in over a month," said Belinda De Luna, Miranda’s teacher.
"It is really that camaraderie with her friends that is really remarkable," said Dr. Vangie Aguilera, senior executive director of SAISD's Special Education Department.
According to her mom, the robot has made all the difference in he school work and her motivation, since she feels like part of the class again.’