Kinect to Education

Posted: March 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

Gesture-based computing is here to stay – according to Kinect creators. Sci-fi has been preparing us for this for years and now we are finally making the body-brain connection for real.

Tom Cruise is doing it…. why aren’t you?
Image source: http://www.tested.com.

Kinect is an add-on for the XBox 360, created by Microsoft, that allows you to control your TV, Computer, Game console with your body.  Its applications are broad, from surgery, rehabilitation and special needs adaptation to education and of course, gaming.

The classroom applications are endless. Kin-Educate is a program created for Kinect that allows students to manipulate on-screen objects (preferable on an IWB) in spelling, math and science. Kin-educate also has a voice recognition feature than allows the user to stop, pause or ask for help. I was not able to actually try the program, but after watching several videos of classrooms using it, I can see how useful it would be in differientiation. A student that has fine motor challenges fatigues quickly in a language arts lesson, but if that student can manipulate letters with large arm movements he/she will stay engaged in the lesson.

Kinectmath is the use of Xbox 360 for math learning. Brilliant! Professor Robin Angotil has worked with Microsoft to create a mathematical application that uses student’s movements, tracked, to create graphs in real-time. This means that the student is actually experiencing mathematical equations physically. From an educational standpoint Gesture-based computing is the true connect for kinesthetic learners. The visual learners also engage because the entire class can engage in queuing the student that is interacting with the program by moving.

This means that math classes can move into the 21 century! What a concept! students are so tech savvy that it is like walking back in time to them to take out a textbook, copy book and write down equations. Graphing calculators, that were like Star Trek devices in my time, are outdated, oversized and clumsy to today’s students.

Avatar – Amazing!Avatar Kinect is a game that allows the user to create an avatar that will mimic their movements.

KinectKidsandAvatar

The avatar Kinect offers a virtual classroom opportunity. There are several stages that the avatar can enter and engage in discussions with others, whether they are in the classroom or in another country. These discussions happen in real-time with the avatars mimicking the real student’s gestures right down the eyebrows. These discussions can be recorded and submitted for evaluation. Kids can also record their avatar presenting a project, tearing down the “shyness” barrier.

All this being said – what are teachers saying? What are students saying? There is an independent (from Microsoft) resource called Kinecteducation. This is a place where educators as well as students share experience and resources from the real classroom. The blog is full of amazing ideas and links.I found  stories about students who are creating Kinect content.

If gesture-based computing has you moving – you can also check out The Leap Motion Controller. Not even on the market, The Leap is promising to change the way you interact with your onscreen items.

This really should have been 3 posts….Oh well.

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