Malmö City

Malmö City

30 AV1 robots help make sure education is possible for absent students in Malmö

AV1 has been in Malmö City since 2017 and helps students attend school from another location. It all started with a borrowed school robot that soon became a flagship for the municipal fleet, which now consists of around 30 AV1 school robots. For the passionate Annie, it is important to have the children's best interests in mind and to make school education possible for all students.

Annie's tips for other municipalities

For those of you who are considering purchasing an AV1, I just say go for it!

For the children's sake and for the children's good. For me there is nothing else. The children need to be picked up, they need to feel that they are involved, that they have a place and that they belong somewhere. It's insanely awful to be at home and not feel like you have a place. And again, not being able to participate has a deep psychological impact according to my experience as an educator.

In administration, it is always a matter of cost as well. In my opinion, you cannot value a child's confidence and self-image, or value the opportunity for them to build a future. You give the children hope for the future with AV1. Then I would like to ask the question: can you really put a price on it?

In Malmö City, both administration, civil servants and school staff work according to the principle "the best school for every student". Annie Bergh works as a development secretary at the Digitalization Unit in Malmö and was quick on the ball when one of Malmö's sixth graders named Esra was about to lose the AV1 she had borrowed from Atea in order to attend school during her cancer treatment.

Annie has now been one of AV1's main ambassadors for five years and when she visited us in Oslo in December, we sat down to hear what she learned along the way.

Annie explains that it all started when they had to borrow a robot from Atea, who now needed it back. No Isolation got in touch and asked if Malmö was interested in getting their own. Unfortunately, Annie's immediate supervisor had gone on vacation and could not be reached, but then suddenly another, more senior manager walked past her desk.

"I explained to him that Esra had now had AV1 for seven weeks and that during that time she had managed to raise her merit values ​​by 57.5 points and returned to her social community. I told him: every student's best school or not, what do you say? Buy two, or no, buy three."

AV1 as an item in the special educators' application form

It has now been five years since Malmö acquired its first school robots and the argument about the best school for each student still applies. Esra, who is currently in her second year of high school, has become an important ambassador for Malmö's AV1 project, and she still uses her AV1 in periods where she needs to participate in the teaching from another location. Today, the digitization unit owns 33 AV1s and the high school administration owns 5, all of which can be borrowed by schools in the city of Malmö.

Annie explains that the Digitizer's organization of the AV1 fleet works well today, but that it hasn't always been so easy.

"When we started using AV1 it was often the same schools that wanted to borrow a robot and the lending took place without us being able to follow it up or help the schools with whether it was an AV1 that was needed, or something else. We didn't have the opportunity to go in depth or find out if the student was ready, for example. We never had time to talk about those kinds of questions."

For each new loan, Annie wrote down criteria she felt were important to consider. These criteria quickly became a long and disjointed list. The solution was to connect to Central student health.

Annie got in touch with a special educator who, together with her, worked out a routine for how their robots should be loaned out. They used the City of Gothenburg's material and combined it with Annie's routines to create a workflow for Malmö city's primary school administration.

"AV1 is now available as a separate point in the special educators' application form for support on the intranet. After they fill out the form, one of my colleagues goes to the school and has an initial meeting to make sure we answer the questions that we often missed at the beginning. If AV1 turns out to be the right solution, I get the school's contact details and book a handover and start-up meeting."

Before Annie goes out to school, her colleague Dennis makes sure that all the equipment around the robot is in place. He fixes e.g. that AV1 brings a tablet with a SIM card, so that the student always has internet when participating from another location.

Punches holes in prejudices

Annie says that you should preferably show the school how to connect the tablet to the school robot even before the student uses it for the first time. This is to avoid complications and ensure a smooth start-up.

"The school always wants to see how it works and they always seem to think it's more complicated than it is. So when I show them they often say “well, wasn't there more? It wasn't that difficult after all.""

Another prejudice that many people seem to have, according to Annie, is that AV1 would cement a stay at home instead of helping the student back to school. She also feels that many have a fear that more students who do not really need teaching from another place would want to use the school robot if they know that it is available in the municipality.

"I've never heard of that actually happening. So when I hear things like this, I always tell the people that it's not our experience and that it's not like that with us."

Author and child psychologist Ross Greene has a motto that Annie believes very strongly in. The motto is "children want if they can".

"That children can if they want is wrong. It is exactly the opposite. We need to enable the students as much as possible. And the same is true with AV1. It's about adapting and opening up and if I haven't done that, it doesn't matter how much the student wants."

Different areas of use require different methods

In Malmö, they have no guidelines for how long a student can borrow a school robot from the municipality, but it varies from case to case and partly depends on the type of problem behind the student's absence. According to Annie, it can sometimes take several weeks before the robot is even used during a lesson and then having a definite framework does not work.

"The most important thing is to try things out and adapt the use to the child's situation. For a student who is undergoing surgery and needs to focus on recovery, AV1 may only be used during recess. And if it is a student with a NPF diagnosis, the school robot may only be used once a week. It is entirely up to the school and the student to work out the structure that will suit their particular student best. Every situation is unique and cannot be regulated based on any guideline."

For students with an NPF diagnosis, Annie has been told that several of the efforts made with AV1 have yielded positive results. According to her, it has often served as a gateway back to school after it has been used for a while, but she points out that the time to return to school varies from student to student.

Annie also tells us that there are a thousand reasons why some students cannot physically come to school and that they have some absenteeism problems that she believes are very specific to Malmö. Among other things, they have families who do not dare to send their children to school during certain periods when they live under threat.

"In these cases, AV1 works great, because no one can see where the child is when he is participating in the lesson."

A successful effort is a matter of definition

When Annie hands out the school robot, she is careful to point out that the robot is an aid and that, just like all other aids, it works well for some students and less well for others. She finds it difficult to say exactly how many efforts have been made in Malmö in recent years, but estimates that there have been around 120. How many of these efforts have been successful is a matter of definition.

"If I were to point something out, I would say that only 10-12% of the schools that have borrowed an AV1 have gotten back to us and said they've had to try something else. And luckily there aren't that many. But the most important parameter for us is that the student should so-called "succeed" and defining what that is depends entirely on what conditions the specific student has."

According to Annie, it is therefore not possible to evaluate every AV1 effort according to the same goal, but that an excellent example of a successful effort is Esra's story, when she got the robot in the sixth grade and today studies Economics and Law in high school.

"Where would she be today if she hadn't already received an AV1 when she was in the sixth grade? How would it have affected her not being able to participate for such a long time is a question I often think about. Not being able to participate has a deep psychological impact according to my experience as an educator."
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