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Go West, Go Robot: Technology allows housebound UWG grad to attend Commencement | Business

Carrollton, Georgia, December 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – When Samantha Conerly learned she was unable to attend the University of West Georgia opening ceremony in the fall of 2021 for health reasons, she naturally experienced a flurry of emotions.

“Getting an accelerated master’s while working full-time caring for a toddler was not an easy task,” explains Conerly, a Central High School teacher who graduated from UWG with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 2019, and as me Only a month before graduation found out that I was bed rested, I was very disappointed. Even though I knew I would still get my degree, it just didn’t feel so “special” without a hat, dress and ceremony. “

But thanks to new technology, Conerly was able to attend the day that she has been looking forward to since the program began.

“Because of this resource – which combines the power of human connection with the sophistication of technological innovation – Samantha and her family never miss a critical moment in the development of their education,” said Dr. Brendan Kelly, President of the UWG. “This is an example of how the UWG curates first-choice experiences in the lives of our students.”

The UWG Pedagogical college ‘S Innovation laboratory hosts a variety of new technologies, including a telepresence robot from Double robotics who remotely controlled the Conerly to cross the stage and graduate.

According to Brian Lane, Director of Technology Innovation in the Institute for Educational Technology and FundamentalsHis degree is just one way of using this robot, which he compares to “an iPad on wheels”.

The technology has been around for a while, but with the pandemic it has gained momentum and has become an even bigger tool.

“With COVID-19, everyone started attending streaming meetings like Google Meet and Zoom,” he said. “But what makes this unique and different from other platforms is that you can actually move it. So we used them in classrooms and I even walked online students through our lab. “

The premise is simple. Lane starts by sending a link to users like Conerly, and anyone with the link can log into the iPad. It shows the user’s face and allows him or her to control where the robot is going.

Conerly said the advanced technology is easily accessible and the controls are intuitive.

“Despite the ease of use of the technology, it was extremely innovative,” she said. “The video quality and the movements of the robot were impeccable. It really felt like I was there in person. I was able to approach others and communicate with them in real time. “

Lane explained that the Innovations Lab, which houses a wide variety of educational technologies – from video cameras to 3D printers to virtual reality systems – has expanded its offering beyond pure use by teachers, staff and students. Local educators are also checking equipment so that people who cannot physically attend schools can present the lessons.

There is even hope that retirement homes will borrow the technology so residents can “view” their loved ones, especially during times when quarantine does not allow it.

How will such a technology develop and shape our world?

“I think it’ll add more humanity to the online options and add a personal touch to things,” Lane mused.

“Technology already creates an environment in which students everywhere have equal educational opportunities,” Conerly concluded. “I am even allowed to support my students from home while they are in bed. And thanks to this innovative technology, I was not only able to graduate, but also be part of the story. “

Attachments

UWG President Dr. Brendan Kelly and Samantha Conerly.The Conerly family

Sam Gentry The University of West Georgia 678-839-2285 sgentry@westga.edu

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