Kinect Educational App: River Crossing by Kinems

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

“River Crossing” is a new Kinect educational app available for download, freely provided by Kinems.  Kinems is a company that provides learning games utilizing Kinect for K-9 children and enriches the traditional therapeutic method with their motion-sensored educational games.

A video demonstration of River Crossing is featured below.


River Crossing | Kinems Learning Games from Kinems Learning Games on Vimeo.


Here is some more info about River Crossing from the Kinems Game Launcher:

Age: 4+

Objective: Visual-kinetic coordination and development of critical thinking.

Description: In the ‘River Crossing’ game, the child undertakes the task to lead a boat in a river and transfers a duck, a fox and a sack of seeds from one shore to the other. The child-skipper should be very careful so as not to throw his boat on the rocks that exist in the river. Sometimes the passage becomes narrower or wider, depending on the difficulty of the game! For more experienced skippers, the task becomes more complex and as a result the duck should not be abandoned with the fox or the duck with the seeds at the same river shore, since there is always the risk that one disappears from the other. The correct option, in conjunction with careful driving, is to practice the delicate mobility, the visual-kinetic coordination and the grapho-kinetic skills of the children, contributing in this way in the development of the necessary skills for the conquest of writing.”

River Crossing is one of the many apps featured on Kinems’ website

Download link



An Introduction to Games Based Learning by Andrew Miller

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

written by Andrew K Miller

Part of education reform is about terminology, but more importantly it is about being on the same page as other educators. Once on the same page, we can “speak the same language, and make a collective, cohesive argument for what’s best for students. At KinectEd, we want to provide resources, lesson plans, and also these tools for advocacy. I hope to write blogs to give educators the tools to articulate why using games in the classroom can be effective, how to ensure good implementation, and how to advocate to stakeholders how and why it works. Thus, I want to arm us all with clear language about Game Based Learning (GBL).

Our good friend Wikipedia, gives a good overview of GBL, and summarizes it as “a branch of serious games that deals with applications that have defined learning outcomes. Generally they are designed in order to balance the subject matter with the gameplay and the ability of the player to retain and apply said subject matter to the real world.”

Serious games are not a new thing. I think iCivics is a prime example of this in terms of learning Social Studies and Civics content. In many of these games, players and engaged in a game, but must learn content in order to succeed at it. In order to progress, the player must learn. All players learn, regardless of the game being played, but here the content being learned might be consider for mainstream “academic.” In the classroom, teachers can design these sorts of games, but it’s obviously a challenge. Teachers as Game Designers?!? It’s possible, but it takes work. (Looking forward to helping teachers design these games in later blogs).

Related to this, I would argue that GBL and Gamification of Education overlap in many ways. You are taking game design elements and applying them to your instruction. However, Gamification is more “global” in that it is applied to the overall classroom structure, rather than simply creating a serious game for the classroom. However, if you are gamifying your classroom, aren’t you in essence creating a serious game, the serious game being the entire structure of learning? Something to think about, as this conversation of Games for Learning and GBL move forward.

In addition, besides creating serious games as a teacher for learning, GBL is also balancing a game that might be unrelated to the academics, with academic learning. For example, you might take World of Warcraft and use it a method to integrate and engage learning in English Language Arts. Through careful lesson design, where gameplay is balanced with more traditional or “academic” activities, the game can create the entry point to learn critical content.

Don’t get me wrong, I personally believe that gameplay is academic. One of my staple books is James Paul Gee’s “What Video Games Have TO Teach Us About Learning and Literacy?” In it, Gee expounds about the critical learning that takes place when we game. GBL is about merging this learning experience in gaming with the learning that needs to take place in the classroom subject areas. As you explain GBL to your colleagues, stakeholders, and education reformers, make sure to elicit its complexities in terms implementation and definition, while espousing its critical gains for engagement, learning and student achievement.

Andrew Miller (@betamiller on Twitter) is an international educational consultant specializing in many areas including online learning and games-based learning and gamification of education. He is also National Faculty member for the Buck Institute for Education, an org that specializes in project-based learning, committed to make powerful learning a reality for every student. He is also a regular blogger for Edutopia.



Wecome, Ben Allen, to KinectEducation! Student, Developer, Drummer

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Welcome, Ben Allen, to KinectEducation!

Ben Allen is a student from the UK, where he crafts websites, software and apps. He has been passionately running the business (pixelblast.co.uk) for over a year now, with a quickly growing portfolio. Self-taught in C#, Java, PHP and HTML, to name a few, Ben actively gets involved in new projects to see what he can bring forward. His enthusiasm continues outside of work, where Ben enjoys playing the drums, mountain biking and reading.  Ben has an admirable passion and skill for creating digital content that enhances learning and builds communities.  The work that he’s doing is an extension of his passions – creating innovative applications using the latest technology available.  Ben has a contagious enthusiasm for technology and we’re here to partner it with other educators, students, and developers. 

What’s Ben been up to so far?  In addition to creating a Kinect physics game, Ben has been collaborating on a project with Cody Short, a student in Virginia, who will also soon be announced.   While the project they’re working on in itself will reflect great work, it’s the process that’s absolutely the most fascinating. 

The students, developers, researchers, and educators here are pioneering a new dimension of learning that minimizes cultural and device preference barriers. Ben is from the UK, Cody is from the USA, Kim Jackson is from South Africa, Patricio is from Chile, Guillermo is from Mexico City… and this list continues to grow.  There is no isolation here.  There is no “us,” “them”, “Brand A” or “Brand B.” We are all connected and from our own unique perspectives see the value of what our classrooms will look like through creating compelling content with Kinect. We’re leveraging each of our unique skillsets to create something bigger than what any of us would have done on our own. 

We’d love for you to create with us!  Join the movement.



KinectEducation Lesson Plan – Perfect 10: Punching Numbers by Julie Sessions

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Created by Julie Sessions.  For more great activities, check out our emerging directory and Microsoft’s outstanding Kinect in education activities.

What will you create?




Lesson name:

Perfect 10: Punching Numbers

Content area:

Secondary Mathematics

Common Core Standards :

5.OA.1. Use parentheses, brackets, or braces in numerical expressions, and evaluate expressions with these symbols.

6.NS.3. Fluently add, subtract, multiply, and divide multi-digit decimals using the standard algorithm for each operation

7. NS. 1 Understand p + q as the number located a distance |q| from p, in the positive or negative direction depending on whether q is positive or negative. Show that a number and its opposite have a sum of 0 (are additive inverses). Interpret sums of rational numbers by describing real-world contexts

7. NS. 1 Apply properties of operations as strategies to add and subtract rational numbers

Appropriate Age Group

Grades 3-5, all students should:

understand and use properties of operations, such as the distributive property of multiplication over addition.

recognize equivalent representations for the same number and generate them by decomposing and composing numbers;

Software Required

Xbox, Kinect, Body and Brain Connection game

Supplies Needed:



Welcome, Patricio Rodríguez, to KinectEducation! Researcher and Engineer

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Welcome, Patricio Rodríguez, to KinectEducation!

Patricio Rodríguez is an Engineer and holds a PhD in Engineering from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. He was CEO from 1996 to 2008 of Eduinnova, a multidisciplinary research and development center of technology enhanced learning environment using videogames and collaborative learning in mobile devices. This center received support from government agencies such as Chilean Ministries of Education and Economy, companies and institutions such Bradesco Foundation, Ericsson, HP [Philanthropy and University Relations Group], Intel, Microsoft [Community Affairs and Partners in Learning Program] and Motorola.

He implemented projects in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, United Kingdom and United States. He was also a consultant for Chilean Educational Technology agency (Enlaces) and UNESCO/ORELAC.

Patricio is a research associate in the Center for Advanced Research in Education (CIAE) at Universidad de Chile, conducting research about design, development, impact assessment and scaling up of educational technology in schools based in rigorous scientific evidence.

His research articles has been published in ISI journals such as Computers and Education, Computers and Operations Research, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning and Journal of Educational Technology & Society (1.066).  Patricio’s research interests also include design research, evidence Based Design, ICT Public Policy making in education, Teaching and Learning, Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Artificial Intelligence.

Like everyone, Patricio plays a critical role in KinectEducation.  He will use KinectEducation to share his research, thoughts, and ideas as it relates to using Kinect in learning environments and will collaborate to translate research into developed applications.

Patricio is our first representative from Chile.  Patricio, we’re honored to have you part of our team!

We’d love for you to be a part of what we’re doing; everyone plays a critical role!  Join the movement.



Kinect Lesson Plan: Kicking Your Way to Mastering Math by Julie Sessions

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Great submission by Julie Sessions in the forums! You can find more great activities with Microsoft’s official Kinect in Education activities.





Lesson name:

Math Jock: Kicking Your Way to Mastering Mathematic Equations

Content area:

Elementary Mathematics

Common Core Standards :

3.OA.4. Determine the unknown whole number in a multiplication or division equation relating three whole numbers. For example, determine the unknown number that makes the equation true in each of the equations 8 × ? = 48, 5 = _ ÷ 3, 6 × 6 = ?

4.NBT.4. Fluently add and subtract multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm.

5.OA.1. Use parentheses, brackets, or braces in numerical expressions, and evaluate expressions with these symbols.

NCTM: Numbers and Operations- Understand operations how they relate to one another. While addition and subtraction is for K-2, the time challenge makes this appropriate for grades 3-6.

Appropriate Age Group

Grades 3-6

Software Required



Welcome, Guillermo Palacios, to KinectEducation! Husband, Explorer, Developer

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Welcome, Guillermo Palacios, to KinectEDucation!

Guillermo Palacios is 34 years old and has been happily married for two-and-a-half years. He’s a Computer Science Engineer and has been an IT professional for 10 years, working in the development and management fields developing  applications.

In his down time, Guillermo enjoys mountain biking and photography. He also enjoys spending time with his wife and his dog; clearly an enthusiastic person, Guillermo also likes exploring new technologies, one of which is Kinect development.  Right now, Guillermo is working with people who have special education needs, both who are physically and mentally handicapped. His goal is to develop several Kinect applications to provide students with special needs with the physical independence that they were once lacking. Through his efforts and his university, COAMEX, (Coalition for Human Rights for People with Special Needs Mexico), he hopes to target this sector using Kinect technology.

Guillermo is from Mexico City and will be providing his research and his applications here to share with others. Guillermo, we’re excited to have you as a part of this!

Join the movement.



Welcome, Tom Smurthwaite! Musician Using Kinect to Remove Disabilities

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Welcome, Tom Smurthwaite, to KinectEducation!

Tom and I met through our work and interests with Kinect earlier this year. Tom has been a recording and performing musician for over 40 years and has keen interests in using his skills to help learners with special needs. Here’s some more background information about Tom, his experiences, and how he is instrumental to KinectEducation.

I have been a recording and performing musician for over 40 years. I am qualified as a music facilitator and have worked as a community musician for the last 10 years. I was always drawn to the people excluded from normal musical activity either through lack of motor control and/or profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD). I also studied electronics and have retained a fascination for the beneficial uses of technology. Combining these elements led to me being a founder member of Decoda and the driving force behind our innovative Music Gym project. This ran for 5 years (initially a years pilot) and converted a large sports hall into an interactive space for those with PMLD. An inflatable interactive maze for wheelchair users, called the Decodamaze, won an NHS award for the beneficial use of technology in social care in 2009.

I have a vast practical experience of engaging and enabling people with profound disabilities.My aim is to enable people with complex needs to engage with the world in a meaningful and creative way. Technologies designed for musicians, dancers, gamers and security companies can be adapted and used for this purpose.

I use ultrasonic sensors and motion sensing/capturing software to enable people with PMLD to have some control over their environment, to make things happen. Combining different technologies into interactive spaces is my passion, taking technologies away from their designed use. When the Kinect sensor was launched I was very excited at the possibilities of a consumer priced 3D game controller and the last year has only increased that feeling. I am interested now in the transition from Kinect hacks to Kinect apps and will continue to blog about this progress (www.multisensorysolutions.co.uk). I am a musician, songwriter, engineer, producer, performer, technician, stage hand, designer, problem creator and solver for the Music Gym Ltd.

Tom believes that dissolving the interface in computing opens up the benefits of technology to everyone and is honoured to be invited to to join the team! He’ll be starting a year long project with disabled children in January and hopes to include various Kinect applications throughout the year.  Tom will also be looking at gesture recognition and the possibility of using two Kinect sensors (cheap eye-tracking anyone?).  Tom, welcome to the team! 

We’d love for you to be a part of what we’re doing here – building a community of educators, developers, students, parents, and all other education stakeholders – to transform the traditional classroom model.  We’re open to every single person – join the movement and be a part of something big!



Welcome, Lakshman Sankar, to KinectEducation!

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Welcome, Lakshman Sankar, to KinectEducation!

Lakshman Sankar is a graduate student and entrepreneur who is very excited to see how natural user interfaces will affect technology used in the classroom.  He recently graduated from MIT majoring in Physics and Computer Science and is currently completing a Master’s degree (still at MIT) in Computer Science.  During this time, he is also conducting research at MIT CSAIL in gestural interface design.

Lakshman has always been interested in education.  Before coming to MIT, he planned on studying and eventually teaching physics.  At MIT, he discovered a love for technology and building things and realized the impact he could have with technology in education.  His final year at MIT, he co-Founded Braingenie (http://braingenie.com/), an e-learning tool/curriculum that hopes will be a game changer in math and science enrichment.

Lakshman is very excited about the changing role technology is playing in educational tools and believes that the Kinect opens an entirely new range of possibilities.  Lakshman has engaged in prior work in large development environments and also provides a solid framework for tackling large projects. 

When visiting with Lakshman, it’s very clear that his primary purpose is to help learners by creating a “Connected Education,” and his skillset facilitates this higher purpose.  With everyone’s overlapping skillset and common vision, we aim to carry ideas from development to deployment to provide  Kinect Effect experiences to transform the traditional classroom model. 

Lakshman, we’re honored to have you!

We’d love for you to be a part of this!  Join the movement.



Welcome, Julie Sessions, to KinectEducation! Educator & Curriculum Specialist

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Welcome, Julie Sessions to KinectEducation!

Julie Sessions is an educator with 18 years of classroom experience in both public and private schools. She has taught a wide range of grades and subject material ranging from first grade through seventh grade.  Her specialty is science, but she has also taught Reading, Math, and Social Studies. Julie has chaired departments, lead grade levels, presented at numerous conferences, and formally evaluated teachers. This unique perspective gives Julie the knowledge to better help her fellow teachers as a curriculum specialist. Julie has her Master’s Degree in Reading, is a Reading Diagnostician, and has her Doctorate in Curriculum Studies. Hands-on exploration, interdisciplinary learning and cross-curricular units are Julie’s specialties.  She has a passion for learning that is contagious!

Currently, Julie is teaching at Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, SC where she is also the Lower School Curriculum Coordinator. With extensive work on analyzing and developing curriculums, she shares her knowledge with the faculty and staff to help incorporate 21st century learning skills into the current curriculum. Julie is very excited to be a part of the team and looks forward to using her skills to help with lesson development and curriculum integration.

You gain a strong sense of who Julie is very quickly. Julie loves that we’re here doing something much bigger here than what any of us could do alone.  Taking an idea, spinning it off the brilliance of others, and then coming up with something bigger than what we could have originally imagined ourselves – that’s the ultimate collaborative effort.  Julie, welcome aboard!  We’re very excited to have you here!

We’ve got voices from developers, educators, and students that will soon emerge from Mexico, the UK, Australia, and elsewhere!   This team is open to anyone from all ages, countries, and backgrounds.  We’d love to have you part of what we’re doing.

Join the movement.



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