When families first enter the doors of MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital, they have one thing on their minds - eliminating their child's cancer. What they get is so much more. An entire team, comprised of not just medical experts, but specialists in education, child life and other supportive services, work to keep their child's life on track.
Alaska at arm's length Using a Polycom video conferencing system, students at the Children's Cancer Hospital accredited school have the opportunity to interact regularly with experts from the Houston Zoo and Downtown Aquarium to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Video conferencing allows kids to travel virtually across the country to places they wouldn't be able to visit while undergoing treatment. In one of their farthest virtual field trips, patients connected with an indigenous community from Alaska and learned about their native dances and cultures.
Homework a click away
Being able to stay connected with friends is essential for patients, especially those from out of town. For many patients, the Polycom system allows them to connect with their school back home.
For patients who aren't up for leaving their hospital room, they can view programming from the classroom or PediDome on a closed-circuit television system. This is a welcomed resource for patients isolated to their rooms due to compromised immune systems.
All of the school's curriculum is online, which allows patients to work on their homework and access textbooks and learning resources whether in school or at home. In addition, international patients have access to online Rosetta Stone curriculum to help them master the English language.
Apples and Nooks supplement books
The Children's Cancer Hospital school provides educational services to students at all grade levels. For younger children, teachers have incorporated academic applications on Apple's iPad to engage students in learning the alphabet, math and reading. The wireless capability of the iPad enables teachers to work with children in their hospital rooms or in the outpatient clinic.
In addition, electronic readers, like the Nook, have helped patients lighten their load by storing textbooks and other literature required for their curriculum.
Thanks to advances in technology, the in-hospital school is able to meet the needs of patients beyond the confines of the classroom. Now, staying on track with their academic goals is just a mouse click away.