Can a robot help long-term ill children? Experiences with AV1 in school.

A peer reviewed study of AV1 robots by OsloMet

Can a robot help long-term ill children? Experiences with AV1 in school.

OsloMet’s study examines 37 children's experiences with the communication robot AV1 in school. Use of the robot occurs in educational contexts ranging from kindergarten to high school, for conditions such as cancer, fatigue disorders and surgery-related absences. The study is based on 141 qualitative interviews.

AV1 is made for children and young people who are socially isolated due to long-term illness. The robot acts as the child's deputy in the classroom, making social contact and learning possible while the child is physically absent. The report is based on 141 qualitative interviews. Approximately half of the interviews were performed with 37 children with long-term illness and their parents, who have been given free loan of an AV1 from the Gjensidige Foundation. Use of the robot occurs in educational contexts ranging from kindergarten to high school, for conditions such as cancer, fatigue disorders and surgery-related absences. The remaining interviews were conducted with teachers, principals, health workers and the manufacturers of the robot, who all play a crucial role in how AV1 works.

The results show that the children have had mixed experiences with the robot. Some people greatly benefitted from it, and then emphasised that the robot:\
  • Reduces their loneliness.
  • Makes it easier to return to school.
  • Enables "energy efficient" meetings
  • Gives them the opportunity to follow teaching.
  • Is a user-friendly and secure tool.
  • Is cool and not very stigmatising.
  • Offers a safety net as a low-threshold intervention.
Others experienced significant challenges with the robot, related to:
  • Technical conditions (e.g. that the robot does not establish a stable internet connection).
  • Health conditions (e.g. that the user is too ill to use the robot).
  • Organisational conditions (e.g. that schools do not accept the
    use of the robot).
  • Social conditions (e.g. that the parents lack supporters who can help them get the robot up and running in school).
Bibliography

Johannessen, L. E. F., and Haldar, M. (2020), Can a robot help long-term ill children? Experiences with AV1 in school.
Skriftserien 2020 nr 5. Oslo Metropolitan University Retrieved from: https://skriftserien.oslomet.no/index.php/skriftserien/article/view/684