Go West, Go Robot: Technology Enables Home-Confined UWG Graduate to Attend Launch | Business

Carrollton, GA, December 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – When Samantha Conerly learned that she was unable to attend the University of West Georgia’s fall 2021 graduation ceremony for health reasons, she naturally felt a wave of emotions.

“Completing an accelerated master’s degree while working full-time and caring for a toddler was not an easy task,” said Conerly, a teacher at Central High School who received her bachelor’s degree in math from l. ‘UWG in 2019. “I am currently expecting my second son, and when I found out I was bedridden just a month before graduation, I was extremely disappointed. Even though I knew I would get it right. still graduating, I didn’t feel so “special” without the cap, the dress and the ceremony.

But thanks to new technologies, Conerly was able to participate in the day she had been eagerly awaiting since the start of the program.

“Because of this resource – which interweaves the power of human connection with the sophistication of technological innovation – Samantha and her family are not missing a pivotal moment in the evolution of her education,” said Dr. Brendan Kelly, president of the UWG. “This is an example of how the UWG organizes premier experiences in the lives of our students. “

UWG College of Education ‘s Innovation laboratory is home to a variety of emerging technologies, including a telepresence robot from Double Robotics that Conerly remotely commanded to cross the stage and receive his diploma.

According to Brian Lane, director of technological innovations in the Department of Educational Technologies and Foundations, graduation is just one way people use this robot, which he likens to “an iPad on wheels.”

The technology has been around for some time, but with the pandemic it has gained momentum and become an even more powerful tool.

“With COVID-19, everyone started participating in streaming meetings, like Google Meet and Zoom,” he said. “But where this is unique and separates from other platforms is that you can actually move it. So we used them in classrooms and I even gave online students a tour of our lab. .

The principle is simple. Lane starts by sending a link to users like Conerly, and anyone with the link can sign in to the iPad. It shows the user’s face and allows them to control where the robot is going.

Conerly said the progressive technology was easy to access and the controls were intuitive.

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

Lane explained that the Innovations Lab, which houses a variety of educational technologies – from video cameras and 3D printers to virtual reality systems – has expanded its offerings beyond use by teachers, staff. and students. Local educators also check equipment so people who cannot physically visit schools can still show up for classes.

There’s even hope that nursing homes will borrow the technology for residents to “visit” loved ones, especially at a time when quarantine doesn’t allow them to do so in person.

How will technology like this continue to evolve and shape our world?

“I think it’s going to bring more humanity to the online options and give things a personal touch,” Lane reflected.

“Technology is already creating an environment in which students can receive equitable educational opportunities from anywhere,” Conerly concluded. “It even allowed me to accompany my students at home, while they are bedridden. And thanks to this innovative technology, I was not only able to attend my diploma, but I can also be a part of history in the making. “


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

Sam Gentry University of West Georgia 678-839-2285 [email protected]

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