Milo the robot will help decide the future of education in South Carolina.
Milo is a humanoid robot used to teach social skills to students on the autism spectrum. As part of a South Carolina Department of Education pilot program called Robots4Autism, 15 districts including Horry County Schools have received the humanoid devices.
He can dance, talk and form facial expressions to teach students, and a teacher will control Milo in order for him to provide feedback to the student.
“Research shows that students who are on the autism spectrum, they do respond positively to the use of technology such as this when it comes to developing social skills,” said Kristin Wilson, Executive Director of Federal Programs.
Socastee Elementary School was chosen to house Milo in Horry County due to the number of students on the autism spectrum who can answer “yes-or-no” questions, and who are receiving social skills instruction, said Wilson.
There are currently five eligible students at Socastee Elementary School, and Wilson said the program will follow the same original group of students throughout the five years.
The department will check in on the students quarterly to determine how effective the robot is.
“That’s part of the agreement in entering into the pilot program with the state department of education, is to allow them to use that information so they can then make decisions with regard to the entire state of South Carolina and the use of this product,” said Wilson.
Levi Woods’ 9-year-old son will take part in the program in Socastee.
“I believe in progress,” said Woods. “What’s the difference between a robot and a computer? Kids are learning by computers more today than by physical means. He likes electronics, he likes his tablet and whatnot so I think this robot should do good for him.”