Robots help CICE students gain independence

The Community Integration through Cooperative Education (CICE) program at St. Clair College has harnessed the cutting-edge interactive technology of Temi robots to break down academic and social barriers.

For seven years, the CICE program at St. Clair has provided students with developmental disabilities or other significant learning challenges, with opportunities to acquire life skills, pursue a post-secondary education and secure work placements to develop the vocational skills necessary to gain employment and an independent lifestyle once their four semesters in the program are complete.

Students in CICE have various lessons in communications and social studies, but recently thanks to a partnership with ENACTUS St. Clair, Telus and Temi Canada, the CICE program has utilized and harnessed the technology of Temi robots to better help their students successfully integrate themselves into college life and engage with their college peers.

Stephanie De Francheschi, a faculty member in the CICE and Adult Upgrading program at St. Clair, said her main goal for the students is to integrate them as much as possible into campus life and into the college. She now believes that by utilizing Temi robots, students can break through social and educational barriers that may have limited them from seeking out a specific kind of knowledge.

“We implemented the idea that Temi is going to be there for the students as a form of assistive technology and a way to help them with their studies through technology,” De Francheschi said.  “Whether it’s note-taking, uploading videos, having Temi follow students to class or map out where they need to go. If Temi is downloaded onto a phone, it can help them contact teachers or emergency services. Students can also talk to each other through the robots to form social bonds.”

Temi robots are video-oriented, autonomous personal AI assistant machines, which can recognize and follow when requested, save preset locations, and navigate flawlessly. De Francheschi said Temi’s ground-breaking engagement solutions have already been seen by many around South campus following their CICE companions and helping them access essential web services vital to college life.

De Francheschi said it was St. Clair marketing professor and faculty advisor for ENACTUS Michael Spadotto who introduced her to the potential of Temi robots when he demonstrated them in a class which happened to have CICE students in it. Shortly after Temi was implemented into the CICE program, Spadotto said those two original students who had already learned how to program Temi themselves were quick to show off their new skills and train their fellow CICE peers how to use the robot for themselves.

“Our main goal for this project was to integrate technology into the CICE program that would support enhanced learning. Students from our Enactus team realized the potential for TEMI in the classroom and have partnered with the CICE students to develop a mobile application based on students needs,” Spadotto said.

For more information about the CICE program at St. Clair, click here – Community Integration through Cooperative Education | St. Clair College (

– Brett Hedges