It makes no difference where you’re from; Cheryl Arnett embodies the attributes of your ideal, world-class elementary teacher. An inspiration for all, her nineteen years of teaching experience at Sunset Elementary in Craig, Colorado qualify her as one of the world’s best.
In case an award is needed to backup her credentials, she has those, too.
Cheryl’s passion and abilities as an educator revealed themselves when she and her partner from Beirut, Lebanon won two awards at Microsoft’s 2010 Innovative Educator Forum. Her ability to relate to people on a personal level helped establish partnerships with classrooms around the world, earning her the ePals Ambassador award in 2010. Cheryl was also a coach in Microsoft’s 2011 Partners in Learning Global Forum in Washington, DC.
Projects Cheryl is currently working on? Cheryl is also a member of Microsoft’s amazing Kinect in Education team and spent this last semester using the Kinect in her classroom while developing outstanding Kinect activities. Cheryl also serves as an Advisory Board Member on the Bridges of Peace and Hope, where people work “together to promote respect, understanding, and communication” around the world.
On a personal level, Cheryl has served as a great source of inspiration for me. As KinectEducation has evolved, it became clear that what was originally anticipated and sought after was becoming reality. We’re doing something much, much bigger than ourselves here, and Cheryl shares this same vision. We need more people like Cheryl on board to carry this out effectively.
Most importantly, Cheryl is a wife, mother, and grandmother. Cheryl would never say it about herself, but she’s kind of a big deal.
Welcome, Cheryl Arnett, to KinectEducation!
written by Johnny Kissko
2011 was the first full year Kinect was available, and what an exciting year it’s been! Let’s take a look back at some of the major developments that occurred over the last 12 months. In no particular order, here are 10 major developments for Kinect in education that took place in 2011.
KinectEducation officially started in March 2011 with the same vision then that there is now – establishing a community of developers and education stakeholders to create Kinect resources to use in classrooms. We’re on a mission to transform classrooms, and we want you to join us. We’re open for educators, developers, students, parents, and Kinect enthusiasts!
This was a major milestone for developing Kinect applications. This ensured that development would have stable support and “plug-and-go” solutions would eventually exist for mainstream teachers without the hassle of compiling code and other things that are very technical-related.
Simple coding hits the masses with Stephen Howell’s Kinect and Scratch program. Stephen’s ability to teach and program makes it easy for just about anyone to learn how to develop Kinect applications using Scratch.
This, in my opinion, was pivotal for revealing the value of using Kinect in the classroom. This post also features several potential classroom applications of Kinect. Although much has emerged since this was written, it still provides a great reference point for those new to exploring Kinect.
I know that for myself and many others, this was one of our career highlights. KinectEducation was presented in Seattle, Washington at Microsoft’s US Partners in Learning Forum where it caught up with the minds of Doug Bergman, Lou Zulli, Margaret Noble, and most importantly, an amazing group of students, to create a winning project at Microsoft’s Global Forum in Washington, D.C. US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan also played the game, which was fascinating to see. Judging from Twitter conversations, Microsoft UK and others also hosted exceptional conferences that revealed the talent and skill of several people doing amazing things with the Kinect in their learning environments.
Check out the dinner we had at our last night of the event!
There was a lot of dialogue at the Global Forum about how the Kinect will transform classrooms. At the US Forum, we listened to Dr. John Medina talk about the value exercise adds to academic achievement. We also heard Jane McGonical talk about how valuable games are to lifelong learning. At the Global Forum, Kinect was all the rage as revealed by speakers and activities that took place at the forum.
I was honored to be part of this team of amazing educators who developed the first round of Microsoft’s “Kinect in Education” activities. More resources to emerge here as time passes!
Source: Kinect Activities
Kinect also added Sesame Street and National Geographic to Xbox Live, revealing future possibilities with edutainment.
We had our first contest to kick-start some dialogue about creating education-relevant applications, and we had two great winners emerge – Nayi Disha and Kinect Math. It was a little early as most schools have yet to start using the Kinect SDK, but we know this will be a part of computer science curricula soon. We’ll continually have contests, so stay tuned to what’s next!
Check out what emerged throughout the duration of this contest and watch this section for new content to emerge. All the apps you find here will be free for all educators.
New people have started to join the cause and we’re very excited to see what emerges in 2012. Resources like Kinect Projects at Channel 9’s Coding For Fun, Ray Chambers’ site, and our emerging repository of contributions from people and organizations from around the globe who are on board with our mission. Stay tuned!
The Kinect Accelerator program was announced in November of 2011 to encourage innovative applications of using Kinect. Here’s an excerpt describing what the Kinect Acclerator is:
Microsoft is supporting entrepreneurs, engineers and innovators like you to bring to life a wide range of business ideas that leverage the limitless possibilities Kinect enables. Following a competitive screening process, ten finalists will be chosen for this unique three month incubation program running from March to May, 2012 in Seattle, WA. The Kinect Accelerator is “powered by TechStars” using the same mentor-driven methodology pioneered and proven in New York, Boulder, Seattle and Boston. Mentors for the Kinect Accelerator include a broad base of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in the industry as well as executives from Microsoft Studios, Xbox, Microsoft Research and other Microsoft organizations. Teams selected will receive an investment of $20,000 along with several other perks. While education is a target, gaming, retail, the medical field, and other sectors also qualify.
Our first team members are now being announced and more will be announced as time progresses. These introductions will take place consistently and include people from multiple backgrounds and from every continent around the globe! (For those wanting more content on the home page, the site will be redesigned soon so that introductions will be in a specific area).
This is a very exciting time, and we’d love to have you be a part of our international mission to transform classrooms! From the development of resources to actual classroom deployment, you play a critical role in what we’re doing. Contact us to join!
That’s it! 2012 will be a very exciting year as Kinect starts to make more of a presence in schools. Even in my own school, people are now starting to express a desire to learn how to program Kinect and are wanting to use the Kinect in classrooms. Delivering a connected education for all learners will soon be a reality for students across the world.
With everything going in with Kinect, there’s undoubtedly more stories to be told. What’s your story for 2011? If you have something you’d like to share, contact us and we’ll share it here!
Welcome Kartik Aneja to the KinectEducation Team! Kartik is in his final year as a student at the Goa campus within BITS-Pilani in India. According to Outlook India, BITS-Pilani is the “Top Private Engineering College” in the country.
Kartik’s passions? Coding and animation. He’s been coding since he was 10 years old; with his artistic abilities and interest in computer generated imagery, he’s made several videos that can be found on his YouTube channel. Even though he thinks he’s a better programmer than designer, Kartik believes that both science and art essential in order to make things people love. Kartik said that Steve Jobs has been a major source of inspiration for him. He loves his notions about technology and his care for simplicity; he inspires Kartik to be a better designer, even though he’s from a core science background.
Kartik is currently working at HP Labs in India and has done several projects in HCl. He has served as the chief designer for his college’s sponsorship team. Kartik also currently serves as the chief technology officer and chief designer for an Indian social media marketing firm. Among his many accolades, Kartik’s team reached the semi-finals of the Dell Social Innovation Challenge. Kartik is also honored to see the amount of attention that Nayi Disha is receiving and looks forward to continue his developments with this project.
Kartik’s role on the team? He’s a utility player for us! He will helping with the development of guides, apps, and other related content.
All of us are thrilled to have Kartik as a member of this team. He has committed to providing and keeping his developments on KinectEducation, while of course maintaining the rights to his intellectual property.
Want to contribute? Join us, everyone has a role to play!
Post updated on 12/15/2011. There was a misunderstanding on where the source of university rankings came from; post was updated to accurately reflect the source of information.
Welcome Angela Maiers to KinectEDucation as our newest team member!
Angela is an active blogger, social media evangelist, and passionate advocate for bridging the gap between business and education. She is a recognized educational leader, trainer, and author. She is the owner and Chief Learning Officer at Maiers Education Services, a company emphasizing the creative use of technology and social media to advance learning, in and out of the classroom. Angela currently travels around the world with a simple, two-worded message that she powerfully delivers to audiences of all ages and backgrounds: You Matter. This simple, two-worded message of revealing our value as human beings is changing the world.
It’s very exciting to have Angela as a member of this team for many reasons. One reason is that teaching from the whole-person paradigm of learning means that we focus on development equally as much as content and Angela’s “You Matter” initiative is perfectly aligned with the ultimate goal of KinectEDucation – developing learners by providing a “Connected Education.” While bringing a strong social media presence to reach large audiences globally, Angela also provides a vast network of knowledge and connections to make sure things run smoothly here.
Angela Maiers (left) with Johnny Kissko at Microsoft’s 2011 Global Partners in Learning Event
The most important reason Angela and other members of this team are valued and were selected is that we are all 100% value-driven. Our own unique experiences have established a common understanding that relationships built upon complete trust is imperative to take ideas forth. Angela walks the walk and then goes the extra mile.
Angela’s passion for education is contagious, as anyone who knows her will confirm; her TED Talk captivates her very being and what she’s all about. When KinectEDucation switches to its new interface with more content, Angela will have a section designated specifically for her.
Glad to have you, Angela!
The votes have been submitted and the results are in! Congratulations to Kartik Aneja for his winning video submission, Nayi Disha: A New Direction, in KinectEDucation’s first contest! Kartik now has the opportunity to decide what school to donate $500 to, which he has as revealed below (outstanding story).
If this is your first time to KinectEducation, here’s a quick background of how things got started.
It all began in April of 2011 when a call to action from KinectEducation was put out to the Kinect development community: what will you create for education? The original idea along with the KinectEducation website were then taken to Seattle, WA to present at Microsoft’s US Partners in Learning event, where it caught up with the minds of Doug Bergman, Lou Zulli, and Margaret Noble and resulted in a first-place winning project at Microsoft’s Global Forum that integrated multiple layers of collaboration and KinectEducation as a resource for the world to download, upload, and modify their contributions to the project’s evolution.
Kartik Aneja responded by creating this; here’s his story.
Kartik has expressed how much this win means to him. From his story, video, and downloadable app, you gain perspective of how coupling people passionate about education with transformational technology can truly renew many of today’s classrooms.
While this victory for Kartik is a reflection of his hard work and dedication, it’s a victory that, in my opinion, reveals key elements of the most genuine 21st century classroom I’ve seen yet:
Passionate teachers tackling real-world issues while delivering the whole-person learning experience. Students are literally immersed in their content because the technology is intuitive and so seamlessly integrated. It simply disappears while facilitating something that would otherwise be unattainable.
This next part of Kartik’s story makes me tremendously honored to be associated with not just his project, but Kartik as an individual.
The region Kartik resides in has very active community service programs. During his junior and senior year of high school, his school sent him to the National Association for the Blind twice every week. His experiences there led him to make the decision that the $500 contest money will be donated to his high school to provide Kinect cameras so that students can start exploring ways to use the Kinect sensor to help people with such disabilities. Upon reading his story, an inspired anonymous donor has also committed to giving the orphanage where he tested the app $250 to serve their needs as well.
I told Kartik I wish more could be provided to promote his cause. He expressed that while this money may seem like a small amount, the conversion rate in India will make the money serve wonders.
Here are some thoughts from our judges about Nayi Disha:
“This was my favorite video because it really showed how this helped the children have fun with the apps and learn about the world around them. This was applied to real world learning. I could see these two apps [referencing the games within Nayi Disha] being used in other areas as well with different types of objects instead of the trash and flies. I also like that the children have the music incentive because students react well to incentives and this is really at the heart of game based education where achieving certain levels means receiving an award. -“ Shelly Terrell
"This video captured me the moment it started and held my attention, mind, and heart the entire time. Not only was the message powerful, it brought an entirely new dimension to gaming; social good. Brilliant!" – Angela Maiers
After watching the video, Andrew Miller also expressed how engaging he found the application to be. Similar sentiment was captivated by judges Kelly Croy and Lucy Barrow:
“I really enjoyed this application! What a unique and powerful exploration of Kinect in education. I was very impressed with the variety of programming, the authentic purpose, and immediate benefits of this project. The programming could be applied to different social messages from trash to drugs, and even classroom subjects…Very touching project, well done.” – Kelly Croy
“This app is directly relevant to the students’ situations yet could easily be used successfully by students in other locations. It illustrates perfectly the value of the Kinect Sensor Camera, a relatively inexpensive piece of technology that can be used in so many engaging ways!” – Lucy Barrow
This has been a very fulfilling experience and I am honored that we could get Kartik’s message out. Kartik has also agreed in principle to continue contributing his developments (keeping his rights to the intellectually property, of course) to KinectEducation to help deliver a “connected education” for schools around the world.
Congratulations Kartik! You may also find more of Kartik’s projects on his YouTube channel and other downloads in our emerging educational apps directory. If you have thoughts you’d like to send Kartik to further promote his vision and cause, we’ll pass it on or you can share your thoughts on KinectEducation’s Facebook page.
Contest results for “best app” will be announced soon. Meanwhile, the question still remains: what will you create?
At the beginning of every year, I tell my students I have two indicators that determine our success. The first, obvious method of measurement has to be their test scores. This is a non-negotiable if I’m going to maintain my job and if they’re going to advance academically.
However, the second indicator is far more revealing of my level of influence on their growth and development. If they come back to visit me the following year – when they don’t have to, when their motive is genuinely guided by a desire to simply reconnect – this reveals that the values promoted in class – values embodying lifelong learning – were well-received. This is how I ultimately measure my influence and success as their educator.
It’s a tough balancing act. Many times, it feels that one indicator comes at the expense of the other.
On the outside looking in, it sounds fairly straightforward…but it’s not, as any student, teacher, or school administrator will attest. Even when I’d speak to student teachers at Texas Tech University, I always struggled advocating for this model. I always knew it was the ideal model we needed, but I had a hard time answering how to effectively and consistently integrate this paradigm across all content areas. All I could really do was point to the research and show what I now feel like was a very “canned” ways of doing things.
But do that too long and it becomes rhetoric.
and, if you have yet to see the “Kinect Effect,” watch this:
…I think we’re finally moving beyond the rhetoric.
The aim of KinectEDucation is to facilitate this “Connected Education” by developing, promoting, and integrating Kinect resources in classrooms. Certainly, it’s about showcasing Kinect developments, exploring resources that promote gaming in education(thanks Pat!), helping others learn how to program with ease, and integrating standards-driven activities for Kinect in education.
Although Kinect bridges the gaps that have existed in education and can literally connect all dimensions together, it can’t be done with a device alone. While Kinect is integral, we also need passion-driven educators like Melanie Wiscount, Gareth Ritter, Lee Kolbert, Cheryl Arnett, and Pat Yongpradit who promote content that teaches social awareness. We need educators like Angela Maiers who are guided by the philosophy that there are no lazy children, just children who have yet to find something they’re passionate about. Finally, we need visionary leaders like Ollie Bray to help ensure we use technology to promote development equally as much as we promote content.
At KinectEDucation, we’ve gathered an amazing group of people who are passionate about education and are experts within their respective fields, many of whom will be formally announced soon. But this is not about a group of people and is not limited by region. These are just the people who have expressed initial interest in contributing towards this renewed classroom model. This community is open for everyone to contribute; an open platform is needed if we’re going to do this. Together, we can make big things happen around the world.
Everyone has a unique skillset. If you have a similar vision and possess skills or content to contribute, share them.
Well, the first KinectEDucation contest has come to a close. From the feedback I gained, the window of time it was offered was probably a little premature as Kinect development for PCs is still in its infancy; nonetheless, transformational content emerged and relationships were established, both of which I’m excited to know will contribute towards renewed classroom models. Once the votes are tallied, results will be announced. The plan is to have this done no later than December 5th.
Even with just a handful of submissions, we’ve got a great group of qualified judges here that are going to make this fun. I’m honored to have them as trusted partners in learning! Below are the five judges with a brief bio, picture, and related links attached.
Angela is an active blogger, social media evangelist, and passionate advocate for bridging the gap between business and education. She is a recognized educational leader, trainer, and author. She is the owner and Chief Learning Officer at Maiers Education Services, a company emphasizing the creative use of technology and social media to advance learning, in and out of the classroom.
Shelly Sanchez Terrell is an education activist, thought-provoker, and international speaker. She is the VP of Educator Outreach for Parentella and Social Media Community Manager for The Consultants-E. Additionally, she is the the co-organizer and co-creator of the acclaimed educational projects, Edchat, The Reform Symposium E-Conference and the Virtual Round Table conference. Shelly’s website with more information is http://flavors.me/shellyterrell and her twitter is @ShellTerrell.
Andrew is an international consultant specializing in educational technology, game-based learning and gamification, culturally responsive teaching and project-based learning. He is an experienced brick and mortar and online teacher who is an avid blogger for ASCD and Edutopia.
Kelly Croy has been speaking professionally and sharing his unique performance art with audiences since 2001. He inspires his audiences to live a life that impacts others. Performance Chalk Artist, humorist, caricature artist, cartoonist, Kelly brings his artwork to "life" using digital animation. Kelly has been teaching and coaching for over twenty-one years and is also an Apple Distinguished Educator. Kelly’s website is http://www.kellycroy.com and his twitter is @kellycroy. Kelly also leads Wired Educator, a website dedicated to helping educators transform education with technology.
Lucy is an eLearning Coordinator at Ballarat Grammar, a K-12 Independent School in Australia and has been working in the field of education for over 20 years. She loves exploring emerging technologies, especially virtual worlds and games in education. Lucy currently coordinates “Begonia Island”, a virtual worlds program and, in 2011, her students have been exploring educational uses for the Kinect Sensor Camera. You can find out more about her school’s eLearning Programs at http://bgselearning.posterous.com/ and Lucy’s Twitter ID is @lucybarrow.
Again, a great lineup judges who I’m honored to have participate in this contest. The winner in each category will be announced soon!
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.
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 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.
When evaluating gaming technologies for their use in education, these 7 questions should guide you towards well-made decisions. The trick will be in making a decision that strikes a balance amongst all your answers.
Although there are many factors to address prior to making any decisions relating to gaming in education, I consider the below 7 questions to be most important. This framework was adapted for evaluating gaming technology from my other site, K12 Mobile Learning. The framework should be similar for evaluating the adoption of any new tool in education.
Regardless of how innovative your instructional strategy may be, you must be able to show results from using it. What games are going to provide the most opportunities for gains in performance? If you can’t show how the game you’re going to integrate aligns with your curriculum, scrap it and look for something new. In my opinion, this is the first and most important criterion to consider. If this question can’t be satisfactorily addressed, start brainstorming for new ideas.
Aneesh Bhat has this website that dynamically updates great resources for gaming in the classroom. I would definitely bookmark it and refer back to it when determining what gaming technology provides the most learning gains.
Familiarity is big plus. Find something that’s not a foreign technology so that it can be easily integrated. Fortunately, one of the biggest “plusses” for gaming in the classroom is that students are familiar with the technology, creating a less steep learning curve.
Obviously, affordability is a huge determining factor when deciding what software and technology to integrate in your school or classroom. Check your balance sheet before committing to major purchases, and keep in mind that expensive technology is also a gateway opportunity for companies to try and sell you even more expensive technology to supplement their product.
For assistance with funding, check out the following resources:
ARPA-ED: providing funds for innovative instruction.
3 Ways to Get Kinects for Your Classroom: directory of grants and resources for getting Kinects for your classroom.
Fortunately, the Kinect sensor is very inexpensive relative to what it can do. Game prices are also fair. What I’m interested to see is what price custom developers will charge for their software once more players enter the field.
For a growing directory of free apps, check out KinectEDucation’s Kinect Apps for Education.
Remember Sega’s Dreamcast? It had great potential, but ultimately failed because of the lack of support. Make sure the software or hardware you’re evaluating has wide community support that will promote longevity. This also extends to the development of lesson plans.
Conclusively, try not to integrate anything that has waning support. Don’t adopt a platform that isn’t growing or at least stable in support.
Can you (as a teacher or administrator) ensure that support will be provided once your proposed technology is a standard classroom tool? It may be easy for you to use, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be easy for everyone to use. That’s something I’ve had to learn with emerging Kinect developments. This is an evolving field and PC software development is just emerging. Give it time, though.
Simplicity should be a goal, along with a strong support team to address unforeseen issues.
Ensure your proposed technology doesn’t violate FERPA or any other local and federal policies. No matter how good your technology may be, if isn’t aligned with privacy laws (or all laws for that matter), it isn’t allowable. Anything promoting violence should probably be avoided. This has been a sore spot for many administrators considering the adoption of games in the classroom. There’s an unfortunate association with video games and violence. Yes, there’s a lot of these games, but it’s not requisite for active engagement.
How long until the product’s next iteration is released? With Kinect technology, I don’t think that this is a major issue to really consider, but when you’re spending big money, it’s always smart to check out the market.
Please consider this is not an exhaustive list. Additionally, this only reflects my personal opinions as to what qualifies as the most important criteria to observe prior to integrating gaming technology in education.
What other factors should be considered? Share your thoughts on KinectEDucation’s Facebook page.