Kinect in Education: How to Create Relevant Games

Active learning isn’t far away from mainstream classrooms.

Described below is a method to integrate Kinect and promotes active learning, higher level thinking and can be made relevant to all content areas. Driver support from developers will continue to stabilize; school infrastructure and administrators’ paradigms will continue to evolve to fully support Kinects in classrooms. I believe that this method offers a glimpse of what to expect over the next few years.

The activities found within this math module are designed for use with Kodu and provide a great framework for all math teachers to integrate game development in their classrooms. Finished projects can then be integrated to work with Kinect using FAAST. Within this PDF document are great examples of how to use Kodu in math classrooms; with additional basic programming knowledge, these creations can then be integrated with Kinect. Currently, this proposed setup uses the OpenNite drivers, which is compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. FAAST will soon support the Kinect SDK, which will help end-users integrate this in their classrooms.

I made a very basic video showing how you may use Kodu in your content area as great way to support instruction. This took about thirty minutes to create, and I’m by no means a Kodu expert. With object-oriented programming, your developments can be very simple as my demo is, or you can design fairly advanced software. When integrating with FAAST, this becomes truly transformational. You can take Kodu and your classroom a step further by using FAAST to map keys from your keyboard to gestures; by doing so, you create authentic active learning opportunities for your students. For example, instead of using the arrow keys to move your character, you can run in place and shift your body accordingly.


If you need help learning how to integrate software with Kinect, check out my Teacher’s Guide for Kinect.

One suggestion might be to integrate this as a classroom project within each unit. Before the summative assessment, one class day may be used for students to prominently display their work and have others “interact” with their content.

The challenge I’m running into now is a lack of support resulting from different drivers; unfortunately, you can’t use software that utilizes the Kinect SDK and the OpenNI drivers on the same operating system. So, until development standardizes or support for both is provided, this may be early to see in classrooms. But those problems will resolve; I do believe this is the future of education.


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