BMS robokind

BURGAW, NC - Technology captures the attention of most of us during any given day. How many times have you looked at your cell phone today? Tech is doing more than just capturing the attention of students at Burgaw Middle School, it's helping them learn in a very special way.

"We know that a lot of our students, particularly those who are on the autism spectrum are drawn to technology," said Melanie McCready, Director of Exceptional Children. "In this case their focus is on a robot."

Milo the robot is designed to be interesting and approachable for autistic learners. Milo is one of four robots offered by Robokind which provides facially-expressive robots that help increase student engagement.

"We're using it this summer as a pilot program to see if it's something that would fit with our students in our program." said Ms. McCready.

Robokind robots speak 20% slower than humans while demonstrating human emotion.

"I think the draw for this type of technology are the facial features that this particular program offers, it's very realistic," said Lisa Cavenaugh, an adaptive teacher at Burgaw Middle School. "The kids can be more in tune and learn more when things are realistic. Cartoons are fun, stuffed animals are fun but if it's more realistic, and this program is, it's so much more helpful."

"At the end of the summer we're going to look at our data, teachers are able to track data and track their student engagement and their student improvement with the skills that are being taught and that will help us determine if we want to go forward with this project or even expand it." said Ms. McCready.

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