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Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Sunday, 28 August 2011
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kinecteducation logoTeachable Moment: The Kinect is so rich for teaching opportunities... nobody has found the "pony" yet but I hope these guys do!

Gesture-based learning doesn't demand a new classroom, but it will create a new classroom identity.

KinectEDucation is a community-driven resource for developers, teachers, students, enthusiasts, and any other education stakeholder to promote and develop Kinect-friendly applications for use in classrooms. With KinectEDucation, you can freely:

  • Download and upload Kinect resources for classroom use
  • Read and post articles about Kinect in education
  • Showcase real-life examples of Kinect in education
  • Discuss anything else about Kinect relevant to education

As a community, we'll take ordinary applications - like Google Earth, Word Munchers, and drawing applications - and make them Kinect-friendly for use in learning environments.

Why haven’t most classrooms evolved to reflect the changes that have occurred in all other areas of industry over the past 200 years? Why don’t classrooms consistently foster the timeless principles of learning that we know to be true – principles governing successful collaboration, communities, and relevant learning?

On the outside looking in, it seems so easy. However, any teacher or administrator will testify that’s one of the biggest obstacles to overcome. Why are there two dichotomies? Simply stated, there’s a lot to consider. Evaluating the countless parameters influencing “modern day” classroom structure (standardized assessments, legislation, equity, finances, bureaucracy, learning fit within a scheduled time, etc.) helps to empathize with why educators’ innovative ideas don’t always nicely fit within the parameters of public education.

Integrating educational Kinect applications represents a blended classroom model, where we can explore innovative learning opportunities within the controlled setting demanded by the structure of public education.

How can you use the Kinect in your learning environment?  Furthermore, how can you contribute your own work to allow other educators to capitalize on active learning opportunities?

Software titled FAAST, developed by the Institute of Creative Technologies, is freely available that allows anyone to develop Kinect-friendly applications by creating "key bindings." Essentially, you create Kinect-friendly key bindings by mapping gestures to certain keystrokes and and mouse movements.  For example, leaning 20 degrees to the left can be mapped to the "w" key, meaning that every time you lean to the left twenty degrees, you will be inputting a "w" key on your computer.  A list of common gestures is already provided, so you don't have to do as much homework. It can be very simple, but it can also get as complex as you'd like.

One of the primary intents of KinectEDucation is to create a warehouse of Kinect-friendly applications, with all contributions coming from a community of regular people.  Software ideas include newer applications like Google Earth, and nostalgic games like Word Munchers.  The idea is to deliver active learning experiences within the confinements of an enclosed classroom environment. So, as long as you're not violating any terms of service, this includes just about all software and games.

For simplicity, I've embedded a video that may provide a better idea of how to get started.  Feel free to contact me with any questions.

References: http://www.kinecteducation.com/

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