St. Clair College using technology to help students gain independence
Published Monday, November 8, 2021 5:12PM EST Last Updated Monday, November 8, 2021 7:34PM EST
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Temi Robots is breaking down academic and social barriers for students in “The Community Integration Through Cooperative Education (CICE) program.
“Here at the college it can be very intimidating and so I think the idea of having a robot with them it does give them a sense of security,” says Stephanie De Francheschi, a faculty member in the CICE program.
“So it’s this whole other element besides academics that’s coming into the socialization for the students.”
Students with developmental disabilities or significant learning challenges are provided with a robot and an opportunity to develop life skills and earn their post-secondary education.
“They are beyond excited. They love using them,” says De Francheschi.
Inside the classroom, the robot can help students with assignments and presentations.
“I’m able to sequence the presentation onto the robot and the robot then presents. So now all of a sudden, we’ve removed a barrier,” De Francheschi tells CTV News.
The robot can even assist outside the classroom.
“We do have to map and teach the robot first, we save the map and then that student can hit the map and the robot is able to take them to their classes,” De Francheschi says.
They are video oriented, autonomous personal AI assistant machines, which can recognize and follow when requested.
Peers from the ENACTUS program create apps and prepare the robots.
“Our robotics students are helping out doing the sequencing and the mobile app students are developing apps that will help our fellow students,” says Michael Spadotto, faculty advisor.
He says the partnership between programs allows students to create something of their own, rather than using an existing platform.
“It’s a great experience to see a student light up when they’ve been able to do something with technology that perhaps they would’ve never done before,” Spadotto says.
Of the 24 colleges in the province and 13 CICE programs, St. Clair College is only one using Temi Robots.
“The basis for this is allowing our students to be able to work together removing the barriers but also enabling the students to make change and this is a big change in our community,” says Spadotto.