kinect apps

 

Nayi Disha (A New Direction): Kinect App for Education Submitted by Kartik Aneja

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Absolutely stunning.  Kartik Aneja submitted his amazing application titled “Nayi Disha: A New Direction” into the contest, which may now be downloaded from the apps section.  Here is Kartik’s description of his application:

So far, countless attempts have been made to introduce the less fortunate to technology. This has included cheaper laptops and tablets. However, there is one thing that all these devices seem to ignore as far as at least India’s poorest are concerned – they still rely on software that expects a certain level of literacy; there is still a learning curve associated with dealing with the hardware. Current devices inherently lack the direct world-metaphor the recent Natural User Interfaces have to offer.


Other attempts to use technology for education in India have largely been non-interactive or relied video-conferencing. The superiority of interactive learning over non-interactive one has already been established several times. Video conferencing does seem to be a more intuitive option. However, in a place like India, where bandwidth is still probably as precious as oil, it often leads to a substandard experience.


There are millions of students across the world who have never known how they could benefit from technology, simply because the world has expected them to come up to the level first.
"Simulating the real experience is one of the best ways to remember information. 90% of what you say and do is remembered by your brain."


Nayi Disha, literally meaning A New Direction (in Hindi) hopes to become a gateway between these children who have never ever used a computer and the device itself along with the magic it has to offer.
For more information or if you’d like to contribute to the project, please contact me at: kartikaneja [at] gmail [dot] com

Here is a video of Kartik’s development.

More apps will be featured as time progresses. 

Johnny Kissko


 

Classrooms of Tomorrow, Today: Kinect Math App Available for Download

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

I’m confident that I know how I’m teaching functions in my math classroom from now on! 

“Kinect Math” is more than just evidence revealing the classrooms of tomorrow.  It’s proof that this classroom is here, today.

Created by University of Washington Bothell students and professors,  this development reveals the power of custom-developed Kinect applications for mainstream classrooms. Robin Angotti demonstrated this development at Microsoft’s Partners in Learning Global Forum in Washington D.C.  I visited with her briefly about it at the event, but this is the first time I’ve seen it in action (video below).

Jack Chang made this available for download in KinectEDucation’s Kinect Apps for Education directory.

 

Jack Chang and Jeb Palveas  were the UWB students who developed this project.  Robin Angotti developed the original idea and Kevlin Sung served as the team’s mentor throughout development.  More information about the entire team and their development is available here.

This is an excellent representation of how coupling this technology with passionate educators will facilitate a “Connected Education.”  For future developments with this software, your ideas and experiences with this software are highly valued.  If you have any feedback that you can pass along to this team, please do so.

Johnny Kissko


 

The Kinect Effect – An Education Revolution

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Wow.  Sometimes, words alone won’t do justice.The societal impact of Kinect will be huge; this Microsoft video encapsulates what the “Kinect Effect” will be in education and beyond.  What’s most exciting is that this is just the beginning.

 


 

Kinect in Education Project: When Fish Fly

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

This past summer, I had the opportunity to collaborate with a select group of amazing individuals – Doug Bergman, Lou Zulli, Margaret Noble, and Donna Thomas – in Microsoft’s Innovative Educator Forum (IEF) in Redmond, Washington on a learning excursion.  One of the objectives of participation was to collaboratively develop a project that could be integrated in our classrooms.  The project we decided upon was to have students develop a game that simulated the “fish tossing” witnessed in Pike’s Place Fish Market.  While the project was well-received and well-praised by all members, the scope of the project seemed daunting.

What happens when you “turn a classroom of Computer Science students loose?”  Simply stated, they will create phenomenal and unprecedented work.  

In a mere eight weeks, high school students from Lou Zulli’s and Doug Bergman’s classes have already developed this application using the Kinect SDK.   In this program that’s a work-in-progress, users can “catch” fish and receive cash based on the type of fish caught. 

Here is a an overview of the project’s objectives:

“’When Fish Fly’ is a Kinect game creation project designed to replicate the sights, sounds, history and “sense of place” of Pike Place Fish Market while actively engaging the student design team in the 21st Century Learning process. The intent of this project is not so much to get other educators to complete a project on this specific location at Pike Place, but more so introduce a way of looking at a new kind of semester long project which increases learning by allowing students to incorporate game design, Xbox 360, Kinect, multimedia technology, motion, art, and Computer Science as they collaboratively research, design, and program a game simulation. This concept is intended to be used as a model to be replicated for any location in any city in the world, it is not location specific!

In addition to the game play, there is also a heavy educational component to both building the project as well as playing the completed game. We want educators and students to consider the different roles that might apply in their own area of interest (i.e. paying customer, business owner, or employee) and introduce the idea of project creation from different prospective, each with its own purpose, skills requirements, and implementation issues. This project has two focuses: 1) to have the students bring  leading edge technology into their learning in an innovative way , and 2) to learn and teach about a specific business, location, activity or institution.  In order to simulate the location as accurately as possible, students also observe and record the many types of people interactions, transactions, and activities that occur in the market. The completed project will support dynamic motion-based interaction using the Kinect camera system.  Part of the creative challenge and fun of this project is determining what motions and kinetic movement to incorporate into the project. With the Kinect cameras being the central input device(s), it is through gestures that the navigation and action of the game is controlled.

This kind of project could take advantage of the passions of students, by encouraging them to  consider designing such a game to bring to life something they love such as a baseball game, a music recital, a family-run business, an entire favorite city (consider gestures that might relate to each famous sightseeing place),  or even a space shuttle launch.”

While this begins to describe the gist of the project, Rob Bayuk, Senior Education Marketing Manager for K-12 with Microsoft, wrote a blog post in September that further captivates the development of this cohort and the ideas generated during the learning excursion that took place in Seattle, Washington. 

I have personally used this in my classroom, and it was a major hit with the students.  Ultimately, the goal is to share this development with others around the globe to integrate in their classrooms.  This will take the project to a level beyond its above stated objectives and serve as a strong testimony to the power of global collaboration.

From a “real-world” perspective, fishing is a cultural phenomenon.  What was initially an activity designated for survival has evolved into a past time for families and friends. Fortunately for us, innovators thousands of years ago pioneered fish hooks.  Today, these hooks can be purchased from most stores; as a result, the masses can focus on the art of fishing rather than developing the tools needed to fish.  If we studied the history of humanity and our advancements, we’d discover that every major shift is marked by the use of new tools and new ways of processing information.  As illustrated with the fishing analogy, those who embrace new methods prosper; those who don’t are lacking relative to their potential.

The tool itself is irrelevant without supporting assets.   It is my opinion that for many schools, the development of immersive applications like “When Fish Fly” and practical activities promoting whole-person engagement symbolize the innovative fish hook developed thousands of years ago.

When the time is right, Lou and his students will release this application for other educators around the globe to download and integrate in their classrooms.  I hope to provide pictures and videos soon from global users.  Certainly, this could be a “catch” heard around the world.

I’m confident that all participants in this event would validate my belief that the IEF made major contributions towards professional growth and created lifelong relationships.  Read about all the US forum finalists that will be competing at the Global IEF in Washington, D.C. in November to gain further perspective on the amazing things teachers are doing in their classrooms.


 

10 Excellent Resources for Kinect in Education

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

For those new to exploring the Kinect as an instructional tool, here are some outstanding resources worth exploring.  This is a non-exhaustive list and should serve to establish a framework for educators and developers considering the development or adoption of Kinect applications for education.  As Kinect gains more visibility in education, you can fully expect more resources in the future.

 

 

2011 Horizon Report: This report explores emerging technologies relevant to the field of education.  Gesture-based learning is expected to hit mainstream classrooms withinin the next two to three years. 

NCLB Reform: Standardized assessments and the oft-cited unattainable goals of NCLB have stifled innovation in some schools. If this act is reformed, I would expect innovative teaching practices to increasingly be more visible in classrooms.

John Medina’s "Brain Rules" book:  This will help you gain insight into the reality of education versus what it should look like with respect to how people most effectively learn. 

Common Core Standards: 48 states have adopted these standards, which provide a framework for teachers to know that they’ve taught what they’re expected to teach.  For anyone developing applications, pay close attention to these.  Administrators need to see that your applications are addressing standards before adopting them. 

Grants (such as ARPA-ED) from major organizations and federal sources are supportive of innovative instruction.

Microsoft development of Kinect classroom activities: for pundits, this clearly reveals that (1) it’s being marketed as an educational device and (2) there’s high value and definite curricular relevancy with Kinect commercial titles.   I highly recommend checking these activities out to establish a frame of reference for just how powerful Kinect can serve as a teaching and learning tool.

  Kinect pilot programs and custom development:  I recently visited with Radu Burducea, Microsoft Director of US Education, about Kinect pilot programs taking place across US schools.  Right now, ten pilots are live nationally and the K-12 Kinect product launch is on track to be released in October 2011.  Explore noncommercial development of Kinect education applications in KinectEDucation’s Kinect Apps for Education directory.  Most of these were built by an emerging community of developers as part of a contest.

  Exploring the possibilities: this video explores the value of Kinect in learning environments.  It was developed in April of 2011; since then, many new developments have emerged.  Check out these amazing Kinect developments for further ideas. 

Channel 9’s Coding for Fun: Anyone looking for project ideas and source code for Kinect projects should bookmark this excellent resource. 

 

What’s most remarkable to me is how quickly this has all developed.  Less than one year ago, Kinect had yet to be released. We’re just beginning to witness how transformational this technology will be for education.  My hope is that reformers advocating for change realize that many of the limitations imposed on classrooms (understandably out of necessity to maintain structure) can potentially be minimized with this device. 


 

Kinect for Learning: Enhancing Therapy with Analytics

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Kinect for Learning Idea

While this submitted idea comes from a source beyond a K12 classroom, it’s entirely relevant because of its integration of Kinect to enhance learning.

Dawn Sanders is a medical school massage owner in Albuquerque, New Mexico and is looking for a programmer who can help her assess, monitor, and create a warning system for the body mechanics of a massage therapist.  Generally, the profession struggles to help students and graduates apply correct leverage without hurting or damaging joints. 

For those like myself who are unfamiliar with medical massage, Dawn explains it as the application of evidence-informed massage therapy to the human body that integrates knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pathology.  Emphasis is on the whole-person and isn’t isolated to one dimension. 

To help Dawn, contact me for more information or visit Dawn’s website (linked above) and contact her directly. 


 

Kinect Apps For Education: What’s In Your Wishlist?

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

The self-sponsored Kinect in Education Contest is generating interest from hobbyists and programmers that come from diverse backgrounds.  While outstanding at what they do, some have minimal exposure to the needs of the 21st century educator and are asking what teachers would benefit most from.  The feedback I can provide is limited to my own experiences, so I wanted to tap into the bank of knowledge from educators globally to give deeper understanding.

If you could create a “wishlist” of ways to use custom-developed Kinect applications in your classroom, what do you most need or want?   Provide your input below and please be as descriptive as possible.

To get an idea of what’s been submitted so far, check out KinectEDucation’s Kinect Apps for Education directory.

 

Your Name

Your Email Address

What are your ideas and / or needs?

Thank you for your input!


 

Kinect in Education: Innovate by Making Little Bets

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

“Discovery doesn’t happen in a vacuum, which is why doing things, however imperfectly at first, opens us up creatively.” – Peter Sims, Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries

In the book Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries, author Peter Sims proposes that by making several “little bets” within our respective careers, we will eventually discover and develop ideas that are both achievable and affordable to implement in our workplace.  Rather than outright rejecting typical organizational models of hierarchy, linear systems, and extreme efficiency, we can spend a little time to take small ideas and experiment with them to make big discoveries and change that are fitting.

In most classrooms, there’s a strong emphasis on teaching facts and minimizing errors.  Problem solving is approached from the perspective of getting the right answer; after all, assessment scores determine teacher effectiveness and we have to play the game. The problem with this approach is that these elaborate and predetermined procedures stifle opportunities to experiment and generate new ideas to enhance and reform teaching and learning. 

The most effective models of learning are as timeless as our ancestry.  Learning doesn’t happen at predetermined times.  Learning doesn’t happen at fixed locations; in fact, studies reveal that most learning happens in informal education environments.  While we have an argument for reform, we still struggle with innovation. We’re afraid of “messing up.” Quite simply, we don’t have a lot of time to mess things up.

But, it’s better to fix problems than prevent errors. Over time, innovative practices are iterated and refined where they then become valuable assets to the classroom. For example, in my third year of teaching, I piloted a web-based RTI program in my class that I developed. It linked results from student assessment data to resources (videos, practice problems, notes, etc.) relevant to the standards attached to each problem. Students would then individually work on their specific areas of need; it was dynamic, accessible, and highly targeted.

In a nutshell, here’s what happened: students who were going to already do well did that much better, but there was no difference in the scores for students whose scores were already low. I didn’t adequately address the lack of the motivation from these students. With the next iteration, I tweaked the software and addressed classroom management factors to increase motivation. Assessment scores for this population improved the following year.

Here’s another example: at one point in time, the ballpoint pen was an unwelcomed tool in the classroom.  Students had used pencils for so long; why use a pen? For one, they’d forget how to sharpen pencils; secondly, what would they do when they ran out of ink?  It took people willing to make “little bets” for pens to become acceptable artifacts in the classroom. 

How can you make these “little bets” to welcome innovation? Here are six fundamentals that the author proposes:

  • Experiment: Make trial and error a regular part of your classroom practice.
  • Play: When new ideas are emerging, you may too quickly judge it to be ineffective. Play quiets this inhibition and keeps good ideas flowing.
  • Immerse: Look beyond the textbooks for ideas on new things. What’s going on in industry that you could bring to the classroom? Gather ideas from sources outside education.
  • Define: Throughout the implementation process, use new insights that define problems and needs before solving them. You may figure out a solution to a problem that you weren’t initially trying to solve.
  • Reorient: Be flexible and make necessary changes.
  • Iterate: Repeat, refine, and keep testing

Follow this path of discovery before believing your ideas have no place in the classroom.  Like the ballpoint pen, we need pioneers and advocates for new tools and models of learning.

For further reflection, check out the video below that captivates the essence of making “little bets.”


 

Kinect for Learning Analytics and RTI

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

With Kinect, advanced learning analytics within most classrooms is a definite possibility; properly designed and integrated, data collection can move far beyond just gathering assessment data.

Imagine a swivel holding multiple Kinects and projectors mounted from a classroom ceiling. With Kinect’s player recognition capabilities, every individual’s participation throughout a lesson can be assessed by interpreting individual’s gestures.  Then, this data can be assessed and stored to provide the teacher objective feedback regarding students’ facial cues and body language relevant to learning.

Assuredly, interpreting body language isn’t simple; much has to be considered before making broad generalizations. However, we can’t deny that a large percentage of communication is nonverbal; therefore, if an instructor has access to long-term data that reveals specific behavioral trends, direct intervention can be timely, direct, and accurate. Assuredly, this could serve as an outstanding RTI tool.

I certainly see a place for this in many learning environments, but keep in mind that this is 100% speculation on my part.

Check out this video below of Microsoft’s Lightspace to gain perspective and a glimpse of how this technology may apply to classrooms.


 

Kinect in Education: Good-Bye, Old School

Monday, September 19th, 2011

School community, curriculum and instruction, and administrative tasks/leadership represent the framework of most schools.  Periodically throughout the year, school leaders and education practitioners reflect on best practices and build their effectiveness in each domain by adding or modifying their game plans respective to each three.  While well-intended and making great strides, the scope of change within each domain is usually isolated and there simply isn’t enough time make everything on the list a reality.  But on occasion, we do find something capable of being leveraged for gain in all three domains.  I believe the Kinect will serve as an instrument of mass appeal and change for teachers, administrators, students, and parents.  

The videos and examples below serve as a testimony to how Kinect technology will be a game-changer in the field of education. For more examples, visit 9 Incredible Developments for Kinect in Education.

 

Commercial Software & Games

Software that makes it to the shelves has been tested to work, is easy to use, and instruction can be creatively adapted to the game.  This is an exciting area of development; more details and links to come, soon. 

Microsoft’s South Africa team integrating Kinect in classrooms

“No more monologue by the teacher aimed at the students who don’t retain half of what they hear. No more boredom in the classroom… “Language is no longer the barrier; physical impairment is no longer a shortcoming. Interactive schooling is the way of the future.”

Avatar Kinect in Action

Kinect Physics Interaction Demo

School walls virtually become nonexistent with software like this; this has definite implications across all grade-levels and content areas. 

Robotics

From Microsoft Robotics Website: “There has been tremendous excitement with Microsoft Kinect within the robotics space signaling the potential opportunities that exist in transforming robots to low-cost mainstream consumer devices. RDS4 beta, with support from the Kinect sensor, aims to make it easier for developers to build applications, including those directed at personal robotics and consumer scenarios, both in hardware and in simulation.”

The download link and more information about the beta version of Robotics Developer Studio can be found on Microsoft Robotics’ website.

Anatomy & Science

Clearly, this has implications in the medical industry.  Why not bring it to the classroom to immerse kids pursuing the medical field?

 

 

Immersive “Mobile” Learning

Taking gesture-based learning on-the-go is tangible with this solution:

 

Interactive Lighting – Cut Down on Electricity Costs

This solution would cut down on unnecessary electrical costs.  Many schools already have motion-sensing switches, but this solution would work well for those that don’t and for new construction.

 

 

Multi-Touch Screen

A $149 touchscreen? 

 

Presentations Evolved

I envision software like this being used to transform presentations into interactive teaching and learning experiences.

 

 

Nuvixa StagePresence

If you’re already making podcasts for your students, why leverage your time by recording video of yourself?  Many kids are visual learners and this would tap into their style of learning.  This doesn’t work like your standard webcam; Nuvixa StagePresence actually replaces your physical background and augments you into your presentation.   Check out Nuvixa’s website for more information and a download link. This is my video demonstration:

 

Community of Kinect Apps for Education

KinectEDucation is sponsoring a contest that will award two $500 prizes for Kinect developments and videos demonstrating Kinect use in their learning environment.  A few contributed developments can be found in the links below. Check out the Kinect Apps for Education downloads and forums to see what’s new.

 

Music as Body Motion by Danny Cortes

Quiz Generator by Ray Chambers

Keyboard Piano also by Ray Chambers


 

 
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