Helping students break down academic and social barriers, more Temi robots coming to St. Clair College

The Community Integration through Cooperative Education (CICE) program at St. Clair College received a $20,000 boost Wednesday morning.

Atura Power donated the funds to help purchase two Temi robots.

“Which will support the students in overcoming some of the obstacles in their way to becoming productive and valued members of the community,” said Geoff Saunders, plant manager at Brighton Beach Power.

The two robots will join four others already in use at the college.

“It's a great tool to have in the classroom and I'm really glad we have it,” said Grace Tiessen, a student in the CICE program.

For the past few months St. Clair College has been helping students with learning challenges break down academic and social barriers with three Temi robots.

“It follows you to class. It can take notes. It's the best,” said fellow student Kyle Schauer.

Temi helps with assignments and can even help students listen to play their favourite music.

“It's helped me with different aspects of learning in the classroom from anxiety help to telling jokes.” said Tiessen.

The Temi robot is used around the world in various settings including healthcare, retail and hospitality — but St. Clair is the only known post-secondary school in Canada using them for academics.

“I've had students saying for the first time they feel that they are part of the college and a part of college life because they've integrated with other college students,” said Stephanie DeFancheschi, a CICE faculty member.

Through a national entrepreneurial program called Enactus, students in other programs also get involved.

Business administration students, marketing, our graphic design students have all been involved in different aspects of the project.

Students have created apps for the robots which in turn helped them place 2nd in an Enactus national exposition for entrepreneurs last year. They are hoping to win the competition next month.

In the meantime, faculty advisor Michael Spadotto says students are working on a mobile app to help deal with social anxiety in the classroom.

“That will remove the student from the classroom using a program that we created to help them bring down anxiety levels and then bring them back into the classroom using Temi as a tool,” he said.