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St. John School is First in North Dakota to Adopt Humanoid Robot to Teach Social Skills

Julia Brolin Apr 4, 2022 6:00:00 AM

April 4, 2022 - RoboKind, an edtech company creating socially-assistive robotics programs designed to improve outcomes for autistic students, announces a new partnership with St. John School District #3. Today, students in rural North Dakota are developing essential social-emotional skills using Milo, a facially-expressive humanoid robot.

St. John is a diverse district with 95% Native American students geographically nestled between the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation and the Canadian border.

This school year, the district set a goal to create inclusive early education classrooms and provide its youngest students with a solid foundation of social skills to decrease behavioral distractions long-term. Students at St. John’s started using Milo in March in early education and kindergarten classrooms. 

“I know we can do a better job of integrating social-emotional skills into everyday lessons, especially for our pre-k and Kindergarten students,” said Dr. Sherry Tandeski, St. John Elementary Principal. “Social skills like making eye contact, self-regulation, and how to act during a playdate don’t come naturally to many of our students. Using Milo will provide our kids with clear instruction and repetitive practice to incorporate these social skills into their everyday lives.”

RoboKind assists special educators in teaching students with developmental differences the social skills needed for emotional regulation, conversations, and other social scenarios. The program combines a facially-expressive robot with an evidence-based curriculum, take-home activities, and professional learning to improve mastery and generalization.

Research shows students engage with robots at a rate of 87.5% of the time verses just 2% to 3% with a human therapist alone. When students are excited about working with the robots they’re zoned in. Educators can better facilitate learning in the moment.

“The use of robotic technology is expanding every day. We are looking forward to seeing increased engagement and mastery of skills at St. John. It’s not everyday students living in rural North Dakota get hands-on experience with a humanoid robot. St. John’s is investing in the future of their students and actively taking steps to create an equitable and inclusive learning environment. We are honored and excited to be part of their journey,” said Rick Oslovar, New Partnership Manager at RoboKind.

St. John is the first school in North Dakota to adopt RoboKind’s social-emotional learning curriculum. Utilizing ESSER, special education, and technology funds, the district has already implemented Milo in an inclusive kindergarten class to be used during station rotations. The school plans to expand to use Milo in a Learning Center so autistic students have the opportunity to engage 1:1 with the robot.

Milo was initiated into the "Wolf Pack" at St. John in April. 

About RoboKind

RoboKind is an education technology company using assistive technology to improve social-emotional outcomes for autistic students. The CASE-endorsed robots4autism program combines facially-expressive humanoid robots with an autism-focused SEL curriculum to increase engagement and empower independence. RoboKind's professional learning resources empower facilitators to deliver high fidelity SEL curriculum to improve student IEP outcomes. Developed with the assistance of autism experts, advocates, learning professionals, and educators, the evidence-based program leverages speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, and applied behavioral analysis (ABA) principles.

Media Contact
Julia Brolin
RoboKind Marketing Manager
(612) 669-2456

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