kinect in education

 

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


 

Kinect Contest Entry #3: Music as Body Motion

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Danny Cortes’ has entered his “Music as Body Motion” for the KinectEDucation contest.  A video of his work in action is below; Danny’s app can be downloaded from the Kinect Apps for Education directory and Danny’s website.

This is amazing work and is representative of what talented people can do to produce game-changing applications for education.  Keep Danny on your radar for future developments!

To discuss Danny’s development and other ideas for development, check out the forums


 

Kinect in Education Contest: What Will You Create?

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

 

With Kinect, classroom instruction can be adapted to promote the well-being of our children, as opposed to conditioning students to unnecessary classroom routines.  While the vision for such a classroom exists, roadblocks also exist.  Primarily, these hindrances includes (1) relevant classroom software and (2) school technology infrastructure, such as the need to have Windows 7 to run the Kinect SDK and school reluctance to purchase Xbox’s for classrooms.  Although the Kinect community can’t write school purchase orders for new technology, we can create relevant Kinect software that reveals the need. 

Starting on September 9th and running through November 30th, KinectEDucation is hosting a competition to promote the advancement of education through game-based and active learning. 

Two separate awards are being given:

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$500 for the most innovative and adaptable classroom software uploaded to the Kinect Apps for Education directory.  “Adaptable” means that your software can be integrated in multiple content areas.  For example, the Shapes Game that is included with the SDK could be adapted for math classrooms to “grab the factors of five”; for an English classroom, “grab all the conjugates.”  The developments don’t have to be complex; in fact, the easier it is to execute, the better.

$500 for the “best” in-class video showcasing a Kinect classroom experience in the KinectEDucation Classroom Showcase. The “best” video reveals a classroom actively engaged in your content with Kinect and relevant software.  Advanced video editing skills are not required or needed.

You may participate in both contests if you’d like.  Additionally, winners will receive a write-up on KinectEDucation featuring them and their work. 

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Here are the caveats and further details:

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Software must be developed with the Kinect SDK and (2) uploaded as a zip file that contains at least an executable file and a “how-to” of some sort.

The winners must designate the cash awards to a classroom or school that is considered a public or private institution (K-12 or higher ed).  If you’re an educator or student, you certainly have the option to designate this to your own classroom. 

All participants must provide at least one additional idea for using the Kinect in classrooms in the KinectEDucation Educator’s Wishlist forum. Edit: Spam issues prevented legitimate registrations and there was additional difficulty in the forums; therefore, this was ruled to be an excessive obstacle to attaining the objective of the contest and therefore was omitted criterion for all submissions in final judging.

All artifacts must be classroom appropriate. 

A panel of judges consisting of educators from multiple content areas will select the winners.  Winners will be announced no later than December 5th. 

While it’s not required, it’s suggested that you include the source code to promote further development. 

 Because of major spam concerns, separate login credentials are required for the Kinect Education Forums and Kinect Apps for Education.

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In my opinion, the non-monetary gains outweigh any potential financial incentive.  As both an educator and a person advocating for renewed paradigms, please trust me when I say that many school administrators simply aren’t aware of the opportunities that lie ahead.  Your contributions would reveal to decision-makers the ability to integrate meaningful movement in classrooms, which promotes memory retention and increases academic gain.  So, even if you don’t win an award, you could heavily influence the future direction of education.

Please contact me if you have any questions.  If you’re new to KinectEDucation, check out the video below revealing how the field of education would benefit from integrating the Kinect.

 


 

Evolve Your Podcasts with Kinect & StagePresence

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Kinect is continually proving to provide instructors and learners with new ways to engage with content. One innovative tool harnessing the power of Kinect is Nuvixa’s StagePresence. StagePresence provides plenty of justification to purchase a Kinect for any classroom implementing podcasts. Using StagePresence and Kinect, the “flipped classroom model” can be taken to an entirely new level.

Any instructor implementing podcasts or videocasts (“vodcasts”) needs to consider using this tool to leverage the time they’re already spending creating supplemental content. StagePresence allows viewers to actually see the instructor solving the problem. Traditional podcasting methods typically only allow for a screen recording of a problem being solved. While that’s effective, I would highly speculate that the viewer (learner) is more engaged when they can actually see their instructor solving problems.

I plan to use this to create daily video instruction for my students and parents to view on their mobile devices or computers.

You can download a “Sneak Peak” of StagePresence from Nuvixa’s website. Check out my video example below for a visual example and imagine students being able to load similar content on their mobile devices and other accessible technology. In addition to what I show here, there are many other features of this software that I will showcase in the near future.



 

Kinect in Education Project: Follow the Progress!

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Kinect Education Classroom Model

This year in my class, I will be piloting the use of Kinects for learning in my classroom. I intend to fully document and blog about the experience for others to evaluate as a source for integrating active learning in their classrooms.

 

 

 

Here’s a basic outline of my plan:

As a bellringer activity, half of the class will interact with content using the Kinect, while the other half performs a traditional bellringer activity (journal entry, solve a few problems, construct something, etc.). This will be done for approximately 10-15 minutes daily. A similar activity will take place towards the end of class, and at times may serve as a “breakout session” in the middle of class.

At the end of a unit, students will take a common summative assessment. Data will be collected throughout each unit and will be used to compare results amongst students who participated with Kinect and those who did not. When we begin a new unit, students who previously used the Kinect will rotate and then do traditional bell ringer activities for that unit, and vice-versa.

The content students interact with will be on a laptop with Windows 7, since this OS most fully supports Kinect. The software development will come from (1) software developed with the Kinect SDK and (2) software developed using Kodu and FAAST.

For example, students will “interact with content” in a way similar to my video below. This is the Shape Games that was downloaded with the Kinect SDK for Windows 7. The content could easily be adapted for any curricula’s needs. For example, students could grab all factors of five for math class, grab anything that’s a verb in English class, and dodge anything that might create an undesirable chemical reaction in science class. These are just a few basic examples.

Conclusively, my plan is to build on the “flipped classroom” model by having kids literally interact with their content on a daily basis. By doing so, active learning is taking place within a closed environment, which is something we as educators have strived for but fallen short of for the most part.

It’s an expensive project in terms of out-of-pocket expenses; eight laptops and eight Kinects will likely cost close to $5,000; the bulk of costs would come from laptop costs. If laptops are provided, that cost drastically falls to around $1,200. I may have the option to check out a classroom set of laptops at our school (which would a great way to leverage existing technology), but I don’t want to be greedy and take them away from other teachers who equally need them. I feel that for this data to be most relevant, I need to integrate it on a consistent, near-daily basis. I am currently working on ways to obtain a dedicated classroom set of eight laptops; the Kinects are more cost-effective to obtain. If you have any suggestions or resources to direct me towards, please contact me.
 

Kinect Lesson Plans: Teaching Math & Functions

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Lesson name: Teaching Math Concepts Relating to Functions with Kinect

Content Area: Math

Standards: Data and Probability, Functions, Independent and Dependent Variables, Domain and Range

Age group: Grades 8-10 (Algebra I)

Software needed: Xbox 360 with Kinect and Kinect Sports

Supplies needed: Materials for collecting and displaying data (paper or technology)

Lesson description: In this activity, students will play Kinect Sports to learn concepts relating to functions. Depending on class size, you may have students split up into four different groups. Have students assess all the potential input variables that might determine their output (performance) on any of the Kinect Sports games. For example, students may collect data on height, arm length, athletic history, etc. in order to see if they can predict performance on the Track and Field activity. This is also a great way to teach the difference between quantitative and qualitative data.

After several students have participated, have the class plot points on an xy coordinate plane, where x represents the input factor (height, for example) and y represents the output (total distance traveled, for example). Separate graphs will have to be made for each input factor assessed.

See if students can determine what input factor can be used to best determine their performance. Explain how being able to plot this performance would reveal a linear function.


 

 
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