Florida third-grader uses robot to virtually attend school from home

LEE COUNTY, FL (WHDH) — A robot created to help kids stay at the head of the class is making a big impact for one Florida classroom.

The robot is giving students who are chronically sick the chance to take part in a virtual classroom.

Abby Newbury, 8, is not physically at school, but still manages to attend class each day.

“Math’s my favorite subject,” Newbury said.

Newbury suffers from a rare genetic disorder that causes severe allergic reactions. When she started spending more time with the school nurse than in the classroomm, her
parents and the school district started looking for options.

“Having the robot has definitely built her confidence and allowed her to feel al little more accepted and normal,” Newbury’s mother, Michele, said.

The third grader is using the VGO robot to put her virtually in the room with her peers.

“I get to make friends,” she said. “Usually if I didn’t have this robot I wouldn’t be able to make friends and I feel like I’m actually participating in my class.”

She asks questions, works on group projects and can even move the robot around the room all while being healthy at home.

The Florida school district bought six VGO robots last year.

Each cost about $6,000.

Now, 15 students share them to learn outside the classroom.