My Remote Visit to the “Wax Museum”

Written by Dr. Billie McConnell

I had the privilege this past week of attending the 4th grade “wax museum” in Marble Falls ISD. The students researched their characters, then created a poster and an iPad recording about them, and dressed up to represent them. The museum was set up in the foyer and hallways of the school so that visitors could tour the museum and listen to the recordings with headphones connected to the iPads. However, since I wasn’t really there, I couldn’t listen using headphones. You see, I was at my home in Kerrville.

So, how did I attend? I interacted through an iPad robot from DoubleRobotics. We placed it in Marble Falls to test its functionality. They affectionately named the robot “BillieBot”. With the robot, I was able to move from station to station and interact with the students. I controlled BillieBot from my computer in Kerrville. The students could see me and talk to me through the iPad attached to the robot, and I could see and interact with them.  It was an amazing experience.

We are just now starting to test the possibilities of using the iPad robot as a tool to create more interaction between students, teachers, outside experts, and coaches. The biggest advantage that I see to the robot is not just being able to access a classroom remotely, but to be able to roam as if you were there. Some of the ways we have thought about using the robot include:

  1. Observing a class to give teachers feedback.
  2. Talking to individual students about what they are learning.
  3. Visiting a teacher during their conference period.
  4. Visiting a team/PLC meeting.
  5. Having one to one meetings with Principals.
  6. Conducting short workshops with a group of teachers.
  7. Observing student presentations.
  8. Presenting to a class of students and having discussions with individual groups.
  9. Having a community expert visit a class.
  10. Having a high school class visit an MS or Elem class as the experts on a topic.
  11. Having a group of teachers at one school collaborate with teachers at another school.

I look forward to testing BillieBot in new ways over the next month and keeping you updated. Since I live in Texas, I have decided it is a great way to visit the northern states in the winter. Maybe I will even have to buy one for the house for my grandson to come visit.