Students in South Carolina are about to make a brand new, robotic friend: ABii! Our smart robot educational solution will soon be joining students in their classrooms across the state.
A team from Van Robotics recently traveled to the South Carolina governor’s mansion to announce a brand new educational initiative. Many parents and students were in attendance as part of the SC Council for Exceptional Children. Everyone present shared a common interest to put children’s learning first and make it a high priority in our state. Van Robotics will produce a fleet of 700 robots intended to help students in many classrooms, as well as, providing an extra set of hands for teachers to augment instruction. As part of a recently awarded a grant from the South Carolina Department of Education, the first 120 units will begin appearing in South Carolina classrooms over the coming weeks.
A Big Announcement
Dr. Laura Boccanfuso, CEO of Van Robotics, was joined by Governor Henry McMaster as well as representatives from the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) and members of South Carolina’s education and business communities at a joint press conference to announce the initiative to the public.
Also in attendance were some very special guests: ABii the smart robot tutor and a group of lucky elementary school students excited to interact with the AI-enabled robot and the team from Van Robotics.
Everyone in attendance expressed a commitment to offering students more ways to learn, embracing technologies and practices that will help the next generation of tech-savvy kids succeed. This new joint initiative is just the first step.
Why is ABii in South Carolina?
During the press conference, Dr. Boccanfuso emphasized that ABii is designed to level the educational playing field. Every child should get the academic attention that they need, but resources are often stretched thin and teachers are often in short supply. ABii is a means for students to get one-on-one tutorial time in an interactive and attentive fashion, helping students receive more hands-on, adaptive instructional time. ABii, the AI-enabled robot, augments classroom instruction and gives teachers an extra helping hand. She is a powerful extension to a teacher’s instructional toolbox that helps with academic achievement by tracking performance and attention.
ABii Makes an Impression
Everyone in attendance was enamored with ABii, who has a cute, snarky personality. That’s right — ABii does have a personality. ABii’s mission in life is to both delight and educate students. She not only offers a truly engaging learning experience — by fostering confidence through fun scenarios — but she also personalizes learning by tracking student progress and attention to adapt to how lessons are delivered. Students in South Carolina will now have access to a customizable, unique solution that is designed specifically to help students be successful.
In the hands of the children at the governor’s mansion, ABii made a lasting impression. The ABii robot tutor is designed to be so much more than a simple ed-tech device. ABii uses sophisticated machine learning algorithms to learn and adapt to the learning styles of the children she teaches.
Even when they’re dressed to impress, kids are always excited by a robot, so it didn’t take long for the kids — and the governor — to warm up to ABii!
Success Through Social Learning
ABii’s personality is a core feature of the smart robot’s pedagogical approach. ABii’s friends possess characteristics many students typically struggle with: inattention, trouble with fractions and decimals, difficulty following step-by-step instructions and making careless mistakes. She is also sensitive to the behavioral cues and needs of students to provide encouragement, redirection and brain breaks, when appropriate.
ABii shines with one-on-one tutoring in the classroom and will soon facilitate small group math instruction. She is also able to work at home with students to deliver individual tutoring at any hour, for any length of time, at a pace that is comfortable for the student. ABii represents a novel approach to tutoring children with various needs and abilities.
The technology behind ABii is remarkably innovative and the tutoring robot is already making significant inroads in the educational community. ABii is a one-of-a-kind smart technology that leverages computer vision and AI to more effectively create a personalized learning pathway.
ABii employs a holistic approach to learning during a student’s elementary school years - the most critical, formative and pedagogically important time of their lives.
ABii is so much more than just another piece of educational technology. More and more schools are integrating technology as a connection piece to motivate struggling or disinterested students. Further, access to technologies can provide a gateway to experiences and core subject learning that are otherwise unavailable. Other technologies in the market deliver content that is developed for general-purpose learning, with very little personalization. ABii, on the other hand, is a smart, interactive solution that monitors performance and adapts every lesson, for every student, every time. In other words, ABii is engaging and is always improving her understanding of each student’s needs.
Looking Towards the Future
South Carolina’s new initiative like the Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs students will open up more avenues to success for all students. The Van Robotics team along with ABii the smart robot tutor being deployed in SC aligns with the same mission that will be able to reach all students and to better prepare all children for the future. This press conference and meeting with the governor was an amazing experience for everyone at Van Robotics — including ABii.
There’s no doubt she’s looking forward to all the new friends she’s going to be making in the coming years!