Durham boy goes to school with help of robot

DURHAM (WTVD) -- We all know technology is changing the way kids learn. But in one local district, robots are showing up in the classroom.

Durham County is the first school district in the state to try robots, and it's very helpful for one 7th grader whose health forces him to stay at home instead of in school with his friends.

"When I'm at school I'm happy and all the people are happy to see me too," said student Max Ladue. "I always like to get A's in school."

However, a chronic GI disorder made Max miss more than 100 days of school last year and that made making those A's nearly impossible.

"Max would go to school when he was feeling OK and well. We would try to push him to go but he would come home early...he just couldn't make it through a full day," said Julie Ladue, Max's mom.

Now Max is back in school, through a VGO Telerobot.

"It's honestly awesome so I don't get behind and have to worry about a pile of work this high just because I wasn't there," said Max.

This is North Carolina's very first interactive telerobot, used for homebound students to attend class.

The VGO has a video camera and video screen Max can maneuver from a computer. He can see the class and participate all from home over the internet.

"It was almost like homework prison for him before, and now, he's doing projects with kids. He's collaborating on things with other kids at school," said Julie. "I want my child to be a normal kid and the VGO lets him be a normal kid."

The VGO Telerobots cost about $12,000 a piece and Durham Public Schools bought three of them.

They are the first school district in the state to try them out and so far, they say they are doing great.

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