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Images of PEBBLES.  A girl's face is displayed on a monitor on PEBBLES.Providing Education by Bringing Learning Environments to Students (PEBBLES) is an innovative system that combines video conferencing technologies with simple robotics technology to allow a student confined in the hospital to attend his/her regular school. This is possible by placing one unit of PEBBLES inside the classroom, and its counterpart in the hospital.

PEBBLES allows a student to maintain a connection and presence in his/her normal environment from an isolated and non-normal setting. Having this connection creates a healthier and less stressful situation for a hospitalized child/youth that may in turn reduce trauma levels and health care costs. It may also ease that youngster's re-integration back into the classroom.

PEBBLES is a collaboration of the Centre for Learning Technologies (CLT) at Rerson University, the Adaptive Technology Resource Cenre at the University of Toronto, and Telebotics.

 
 
High School PEBBLES Project Overview:
 

The elementary version of PEBBLES has had a tremendous success in Canada and the US. A high school version of PEBBLES is currently being built.  This new version will be adapted to accommodate the unique needs of a secondary student.  The size of high school PEBBLES is much smaller to adjust for the rotary schedule of the typical student.  This version of PEBBLES will support two screens as a secondary student engages more in group activities than a primary school student.  One of the screens will be used for communication via Video Conferencing while the other screen will be a regular desktop and used for application and documents sharing.  The latter will be supported through an application using NetMeeting and Zydacron.

 
 
Deliverables:
 

Pilot test will be conducted July 2004 with three to four groups using PEBBLES.  One of the group members will be remote, while the rest of them will be local.  The test will attempt to gain data on the following areas:

 
  1. Ease of use
  2. Inclusiveness in group dynamics
  3. Accomplishment of tasks
  4. Interactivity
  5. Presence
 
 
Goals:
 
  1. Connect children through PEBBLES who are not able to attend school for a long period due to health reasons
  2. Seek funding for research and development for high school version of PEBBLES
 
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