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PEBBLES: A Personal Technology for Meeting Educational, Social and Emotional Needs of Hospitalised Children

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Wayne Gretzky’s PEBBLESTM (Providing Education By Bringing Learning Environments to Students) is a unique example of a personal technology, one in which PC-based video-conferencing is used to make a real-time link between a hospitalised child and his or her regular classroom. The system provides an opportunity for children who are in isolated situations, such as hospitals, to maintain a meaningful link with their regular educational and social environments, thereby minimising many of the secondary problems that may develop as a result of long-term illness and hospitalisation. The objective of this paper is to illustrate the impact that PEBBLES had on one child who directly benefited from the system and on the people with whom she interacted (classmates, parents, teachers and hospital staff). These results were used to explore how exposure to this personal technology influenced the behaviours and attitudes of those involved in this study. The results indicate that, overall, PEBBLES has a very positive effect on both the young and adult participants; the most dramatic effect of all was on the ill child who used PEBBLES to attend school.

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Weiss, P., Whiteley, C., Treviranus, J. et al. PEBBLES: A Personal Technology for Meeting Educational, Social and Emotional Needs of Hospitalised Children. Personal Ub Comp 5, 157–168 (2001).

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