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Robot Helps Graduating Service High Student Stay Connected From Home

Teacher Taunja Igtanloc, Teaching Assistant Julie Adams, and Student Shaikh Al Farouk

Teacher Taunja Igtanloc, Teaching Assistant Julie Adams, and Shaikh Al Farouk

Shaikh Al Farouk is one of Service High School’s 2018 graduating class. As a student who is medically fragile, it’s been difficult for him to attend school in person. But through a collaboration between the Special Education Department’s Assistive Technology team and the teachers and staff at Service High School he is able to attend remotely, without leaving home, through the use of an assistive technology device called the Double.

Lance Smith, from Assistive Technology, describes Double Robotics’ device as an iPad and camera kit mounted onto a drivable unit with a stability wheel which allows Al Farouk to attend classes and participate in small group discussions with his peers.

Igtanloc and Al Farouk during science class In science class, Al Farouk’s teacher, Taunja Igtanloc, is able to interact with him directly during class as he answers questions, raises the iPad to ask questions, and carries on conversations with other students. Teaching assistant Julie Adams has worked closely with Al Farouk over the last two years. During home visits she ensures he receives his classwork and assists him with accessing academic materials.

Another advantage to the device is that it’s enabled Al Farouk to connect with his social network at school. As he moves the robot around the building to attend classes, other students stop and talk with him through the iPad screen and call out his name as he passes by. His fellow students also look out for him by pointing out technology problems with his connection and asking after him on days when Al Farouk hasn’t been able to attend using the robot.

Everyone at Service High is excited to see Al Farouk earn his diploma, says Dali Tremarco, Special Education department chair, as “we all know he has overcome quite a bit to achieve his goal.” Counselor Beth Roach noted how well the robot has worked this last semester and hopes that “more students who are home-bound will get this opportunity in the future.”

Congratulations to Al Farouk on all his hard work that has led him to graduating this year. And a job well done to the team that came together to help him make it happen!


Photos courtesy of the Service High School yearbook staff