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VirtualSC is trying an innovative approach to virtual instruction in South Carolina through use of Double Robots. South Carolina is one of the first states in the nation to make use of a Double Robot as an instructional tool in schools.
The robots will become part of the Virtual Learning Lab projects to assist schools in providing instruction to a group of students enrolled in distance learning courses with VirtualSC. The purpose of a Virtual Learning Lab (VLL) is to provide an interactive, engaging online course solution to South Carolina middle or high schools. Courses offered by VirtualSC are aligned to South Carolina state standards and are taught by Highly Qualified educators who are licensed by the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE). Virtual Learning Labs offer innovative learning solutions to schools, including the ability to introduce new courses, fix scheduling conflicts, and provide students with courses that may not otherwise be offered to them due to staffing issues or financial hardship.
With a VLL, students work on a virtual course in a lab setting, while a course facilitator at the school monitors students and provides classroom management. Direct instruction and course content is provided synchronously and asynchronously by the VirtualSC teacher. The use of the Double Robot was introduced this fall to offer a new and engaging form of live interaction between the VirtualSC teacher and the students in the classroom. One of the main elements missing from VLLs in the past was the instantaneous feedback often received in a live classroom. With the introduction of the Double Robot, that live interaction between the teacher and the student has been added back into the classroom.
Two schools are currently participating in the robot pilot: Dacusville Middle School (Easley, SC) and Lead Academy Charter School (Greenville, SC). Both schools are using the Virtual Learning Labs with robots to provide Keyboarding instruction to middle school students. Throughout the course of the pilot, VirtualSC will continue to monitor the progress and compare the student success rates with Virtual Learning Labs prior to the introduction of the robot.
For more information about this exciting project, VirtualSC has created a video documenting the use of the robots at the two pilot schools. You can also obtain more information about participating in a Virtual Learning Lab or using a robot to provide virtual instruction by contacting the VirtualSC Student Services Manager, Sarah Rotureau at SRotureau@ed.sc.gov.