(Transcript of a news report that aired October 7, 2014)
Dunseith Elementary School students and staff are trying something no other school in North Dakota has done before.
Their Pre-K through 6th grade classrooms now have a fully functioning robot coach as part of the Lindamood-Bell® literary solutions program.
In years past, the Lindamood-Bell program would send an employee to schools all around the nation to help teachers tailor reading programs for their students. By replacing that person with an I-pad robot, it's saved Dunseith Elementary $75,000.
Rebecca Ward, Dunseith Elementary Principal, noted, "With the use of the mentoring robot for the teachers, it has cut the cost of the implementation from about $100,000+ to $25,000."
The school has been using Lindamood-Bell system since 2007 and saw success, but in just three weeks of this new technology, it's adding another dimension.
Ward further stated, "It's a robot. It's something that they aren't used to, but by being able to interact with that robot, it seems to help them focus a little more on the material they are suppose to be doing."
School staff had two days of training prior to student interaction because really this robot is meant for the teachers. As the robot observes the teacher doing the strategy, so can the robot do the strategy and the teacher observe, which is the mentoring portion of it.
"The robot is also very independent. When I am in the office, I hear the robot wake-up and off she goes. If the teacher is actually absent, that robot could go in and do the lesson for that absent teacher."
The school's robot coach also mentors schools in Honduras. Dunseith's principal says like many rural schools around America, this gives them the ability to get the same teacher support as a large city.