- Hart County Charter System
Robots Engaging Young Students at Hartwell Elementary
Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Jones, sets up ABii to read aloud to a small group of her students.
Robots are attention grabbers.
Students, and adults alike, are fascinated by them. They’re also quickly becoming a part of the ever-evolving technological landscape.
But how could they help in the classroom?
Just ask a few of the teachers at Hartwell Elementary School who have been getting to know “ABii” — a smart robot that personalizes Kindergarten through 5th-grade math, reading and SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) lessons.
ABii, which is about a foot tall and stands on a desk while plugged into a computer, can be used in small group settings or on an individual basis. Selecting from a wide range of lessons, students answer questions on their computer that ABii asks them. ABii adjusts the pace and content of instruction based on student performance and attention. When a student misses a question, ABii gives step-by-step guidance on how to get to the right answer. ABii also uses her engaging personality to encourage, redirect, and celebrate student successes — this includes high-fives, fist bumps, and even dance parties.
"We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to pilot ABii in three of our classrooms,” Hartwell Elementary School Assistant Principal, Ashley McNeill, said. “We originally learned about the use of ABii while attending the Georgia Technology Conference back in November and were immediately interested in all she could offer our students at HES. We knew this was one way we could help bridge the learning gap caused by the pandemic."
Teachers at Hartwell Elementary are loving using ABii in the classroom so far and say it has several benefits.
“Number one: It’s engaging,” 3rd-grade teacher Mrs. Kelsey Allen said about why she likes using ABii. “The students who haven’t used it say, ‘What is that? When can I use it?’ So they want to use it. Number two: It’s individualized. It meets them where they are.”
In small group settings, ABii can read a story aloud to students, simultaneously making movements to keep students interested. Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Hannah Jones, utilized this feature recently and had ABii read a story to her students. Mrs. Jones said she likes using ABii in small groups so that she can have multiple groups working on various tasks.
“We can use this as a review from what I’ve taught and I can go in on my side and assign things just to continue learning, but it keeps them engaged because it’s something they haven’t seen before,” Mrs. Jones said. “We are really loving ABii in our classroom.”