TEN Newsletter #9

15th December 2022

Research in the network

Several institutions in the network conduct research related to telepresence. The research brings different perspectives to telepresence solutions in schools and is conducted by researchers with various scholarly backgrounds. In this newsletter, we wish to give an introduction and insights into some of this research including both research that has already been published as well as studies in progress. 

Rigshospitalet

At Rigshospitalet, Mette Weibel explores how telepresence robots – AV1 and Fable Connect – help school-aged children and adolescents (5-20 years old) with cancer to remain socially and academically connected with their school. She does so in the PhD project Back to school with robot technology. The PhD project is an intervention study divided into three sub-studies: sociality, learning, and technology. The population comprises children and adolescents (n=50) diagnosed with cancer or cancer-related diseases, along with their parents, classmates, and teachers. The inclusion of children and adolescents with cancer began at Rigshospitalet in January 2020, and the project has now included 41 of 50 children and adolescents with cancer.

The preliminary results show that telepresence robots could facilitate social interaction processes with classmates and inclusion in learning activities, reducing loneliness and exclusion. However, the robot intervention is influenced by multiple factors determining whether the robot technology is inclusive or exclusive for the children, including the robot’s technical functionality, the child’s or adolescent’s well-being, and the parents’ expectations. Furthermore, the physical presence and personalization of the telepresence robots seem to facilitate inclusive processes when the robot allows the classmates to invite the child or adolescent with cancer to participate in social activities.

An example of the research conducted at Rigshospitalet can for instance be read in the following article: 

  • Weibel, M, Nielsen, MKF, Topperzer, MK, et al. Back to school with telepresence robot technology: A qualitative pilot study about how telepresence robots help school-aged children and adolescents with cancer to remain socially and academically connected with their school classes during treatment. Nursing Open. 2020; 7: 988– 997. https://doi.org/10.1002/nop2.471
No Isolation 

In a cooperation between the Norwegian company No Isolation, The Research Council of Norway, The Danish National Rehabilitation Center for Neuromuscular Diseases and Aarhus University,  Sofie Skoubo is conducting research on AV1. She does so in the PhD project  My Avatar – Equal mobility in education for children and adolescents with neuromuscular diseases in Scandinavia using telepresence robots.

In the project which started in June 2022, she conducts a comparative analysis in which she examines the legislation on education in relation to school absence due to illness in Scandinavia. Furthermore, through qualitative studies, she evaluates the use of telepresence robots in Scandinavia for children and adolescents with neuromuscular diseases (NMD). Additionally, she will focus on flexibility, facilitators and barriers in the use of telepresence robots in the education institutions from a child perspective and teacher perspective. The background for conducting this study is that children and adolescents with NMD are expected to live well into adulthood which makes it essential to ensure mobility of education. Keeping the children and adolescents with chronic illness in the educational system will increase their chances of entering the labor market.

Oslo Metropolitan University 

At Oslo Metropolitan University, Lars E. F. Johannessen, Erik Børve Rasmussen and Marit Haldar have recently published an article on the potential and prerequisites of using telepresence robots in school. The article is published in Oxford Review of Education: Full article: Student at a distance: exploring the potential and prerequisites of using telepresence robots in schools (tandfonline.com).



The same authors are also in the process of revising and resubmitting an article to British Journal of Sociology of Education on why school workers at times show skepticism towards AV1. Johannessen is also revising and resubmitting a third article, for New Media & Society, that looks more specifically at teachers’ speculations about how a camera technology like AV1 can be misused in the classroom and other school settings. In addition, Maja Nordtug is currently working on analyses of AV1’s benefits and drawbacks as a social tool for different types of students, and of the complexities of ‘domesticating’ AV1 across multiple institutional settings.

Other news: a questionnaire

TEN is in the process of forming a strategy for the network from 2024.

The new structure for the network will be as follows:

The network will be divided into 3 levels:
Participants sign up for activities and annual meetings.
Network group members will plan activities for a specific group.
Network group manager, Communications group, Management, and Board.
The entire network will all meet annually.

Each network group will have activities (events, meetings, education etc.) 4 times a year.  Before we present the detailed plan, we would like feedback on participation next year and in the Network from 2024. So please answer the short questionnaire

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