"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Attending School via Robot: Making Education Possible

Social media and cellphones have changed how people spend their day and night. I still find it weird to hear someone talk inside a bathroom stall. Sometimes I think someone is trying to talk with me but then I realize we are now in the cellphone age and everyone seem in need of a conversation all the time. People cross the street while talking on the phone. People still drive and talk on the phone although it has been said over and over that such practice is unsafe. With social media, habits have changed as well. During parties, during meals, during live social occasions, the smartphone is there, ready to capture a scene. And yes, some people would be eager to share, comment and like online while they are in fact in a middle of a live social gathering.

Technology does benefit mankind in so many ways. It just seems that there are times that the virtual world takes over the real world. When this happens, meanings and values are unfortunately lost. Online interactions can never replace face-to-face conversations. Online should only be a recourse reserved to situations in which you and I could not talk in person. One example is a robot called VGo. The following is a news report that describes how a child, who could not possibly attend class in school for grave medical reasons, is able to simulate the "school experience"




ABC News also talks about a 7-year old in New York, who is given the opportunity to attend class and interact with his classmates in "Boy With Severe Allergies Attends School Via Robot":
Devon Carrow spends his days like many other second grade students: He goes to school, says hello to friends in the hallway and practices his multiplication tables. But to do this safely, Devon cannot be in the classroom. 
The 7-year-old from West Seneca, N.Y., has life-threatening allergies and the only way he can safely attend school is via a four-foot tall remote-controlled robot named VGo. 
"[It's] really improved him and his quality of life and his self-esteem," said Devon's mother, Rene Carrow. "There's some kinks here and there along the way [but] it's the best thing that he's been able to participate in."
An article in Huffington Post also talks about Devon Carrow, "Robot Replaces Student At Winchester Elementary School, Allows Devon Carrow To Attend Remotely (PHOTOS)", which elicited the following comment from a reader:
Well I just got done reading posts that were either negative, or off topic. Some are good and some are just negative. This is probably a celebration for this family. They obviously have serious challenges. If this kid gets a chance that other children did not before him through advanced technology I think it is wonderful! If it was your kid you would be happy anything could be done to create any close resemblance of a normal child. Whatever that is today.
This comment carries something important that must not be missed. The phrase "anything could be done to create any close resemblance of a normal child" is profound as it reminds all of us that this case illustrates first and foremost that technology is only the next best thing to reality. Technology here is provided since a child cannot attend class in person without taking serious health risks. Children who do not have allergies should go to school and interact with other children and a teacher. 

Poverty is not an allergy. Poverty should not deter children from growing up normal, experiencing the real world. This does not apply only to children. It applies to high school and college students. Online learning can be an answer to allergies, but online learning should not be prescribed to poverty.





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