How municipalities measure the success of AV1 robots

90% success rate for sick children getting back to education: AV1 robots revolutionise school absence for municipalities

How municipalities measure the success of AV1 robots

Before the adoption of AV1 robots, traditional interventions such as homeschooling were the norm. However, these methods posed limitations in accessing a full spectrum of quality education. With AV1, absent students can learn from their own teachers, ensuring access to a wide range of subject matter regardless of their physical presence in the classroom.

AV1 robots revolutionising school absence

In the heart of Gothenburg, Sweden, a revolutionary solution has emerged over the past five years to address the challenge of long term absentees and their access to education. The City of Gothenburg municipality uses 20 AV1 robots to help pupils who are struggling to get into school due to reasons such as long-term illness or mental health. And they are not alone – AV1 is active in 17 countries, 50% of municipalities in Sweden now offering them to schools. This is transforming the educational landscape, and paves the way for inclusivity, academic success and future life opportunities of affected students.

Before the adoption of AV1 robots, traditional interventions such as homeschooling or teaching in hospital facilities were the norm. However, these methods posed limitations in accessing a full spectrum of quality education. When using AV1, the student learns from their own teachers, which ensures access to a wide range of subject matter regardless of their physical presence in the classroom.

The journey in Gothenburg began with a pilot involving a dozen AV1 robots with overwhelmingly positive results. Over time, the initiative expanded, with twenty AV1 robots currently in operation across the region. The success rates speak volumes; since 2019 this mighty fleet of robots has helped at least 150 individual pupils, with Dominic Summerton, the project lead at the municipality, stating:

“Problematic school absence has a success rate of about 60-65%. For children who are sick, the success rate is about 90%. So our guess is a success rate of over 70% in total.”*

Measuring success beyond attendance

An important question is, how do we measure success? The impact of AV1 extends to the facilitation of daily social interactions with teachers, classmates and friends, which also affects the social and emotional wellbeing of students. Success for Gothenburg, and others, is measured by enhanced engagement, attainment of educational goals, and strengthened social connections with the school community.

Julie Keating from Essex County Council, UK, manages the council’s 87 AV1 robot and shares this sentiment:

"AV1 doesn’t have to only be used for education, but widens the opportunity to make the child feel part of the school community and not isolated. It allows the children to chat at break times and we even had an AV1 that went on the school residential trip.”

This maintained belonging in school is also helping with reintegration back into the classroom after absence:

“It allows the student to participate to varying degrees depending on the type of day and follow what is happening around them. It also creates an easier way back to the classroom.” – Mother of a parent who used AV1 for depression and anxiety.

Meeting the rising demand

Despite the remarkable progress, challenges persist, notably in ensuring equitable access to AV1 robots across all schools. In Sweden, legal ambiguities regarding distance learning underscore the importance of legislative adaptation to ensure widespread adoption and utilisation. For municipalities responsible for a large number of schools, such as Gothenburg with 140 schools under its jurisdiction, the task of informing every institution of the service and benefits of this innovative tool can be challenging. The demand for AV1 robots exceeds the current supply, indicating a pressing need for further resources required to support all students.

Looking ahead, AV1 robots are poised to become an integral part of municipalities education offering for years to come. Continuous improvement in technology coupled with ongoing efforts to educate schools about AV1 usage promise a brighter future for students with diverse and special educational needs and disabilities.

In essence, AV1 robots represent more than just innovative technology; they embody a commitment to inclusivity, equity and the fundamental right to education. As Gothenburg and Essex continue their pioneering work, collaboration and a commitment to these shared goals will remain key in unlocking the full potential of AV1 robots in transforming the lives of students and shaping the future of education.

*Problematic school absence is the term used in Sweden to describe cases where students refuse to attend school due to a variety of reasons, often related to mental health. In the UK, this is known as emotionally based school avoidance, EBSA or EBSNA.