Microsoft Kinect shows potential – Your classroom next?

Unless you have been living in a dark shell for the last 6 months you will know about Microsoft kinect. In my opinion the advertising for kinect doesn’t show the actual potential of the kinect technology. I think the most promising aspect of Kinect is the Speech recognition and it looks like Microsoft may of actually got this right..

Each bing = good.

So it appears to work, and if we can just say, y’know. Collect 3 stars there is no need for incidents like this:

This video shows the potential of using Kinect’s depth perception to control a user interface with multitouch.

Finally, The facial recognition is supposed to really good. Sounds like the Kinect hardware is going to be a winner. I don’t know what % of users will end up owning a 360 so my recommendation to you is to treat the Kinect as a separate platform.

If you are a developer I would consider focusing on preparing your offline and online material for “Kinect aware” devices. If Kinect aware adobe flash content begins popping up it could create a whole new market place and genre of game.

This video shows how the Kinect can replace a conventional smart board:

This video shows it’s potential use to control puppets!! Awesome!

Here is a video that demonstrates how game creators are compensating poor control quality by adding auto steering to make the gaming experience feel less detached..

This is nice, it shows using multiple Kinects to map a physical space to a 3d model.

Remind anyone of the Eyes to the front proposal I did?

Kinect gesture recognition controlling web browser(chrome)

Some guy in Essex has written a driver for controlling Windows 7 (sort of like a touch screen)

If MS release face detection as part of an API then a simple facial detection system for class registration.

Kinect could also be used as a tool for assigning IWB control to pupils.

I think we should look past the obvious of just UI control in a touchscreen format, we must remember the potential for depth.

Here we can see a kinect being used to pass control from one user to another..

Xbox Live Games on Windows Mobile 7

So I don’t feel emotional about this, that pretty much sums it up..

I think its cool that Microsoft are trying but I don’t believe it’s enough.  Shame though because I think a load of educational games tied into an Xbox live type reward structure would be highly motivating and more motivating than a reward structure that is purely focused on Edu.

5 main barriers for Microsoft:

  1. WM7 has too much catchup to do on android
  2. WM7 doesn’t have a following of developers
  3. WM7 devices wont be as open as android
  4. The Xbox live market is pretty small (compared to Google owned farmville etc.)
  5. Lots of xbox live games just wont translate well to mobile (control/interface issues etc).

Will I be looking to develop some educational games for xbox live?  Nah.  I’d rather stick with Flash/HTML5 games and a free/open scoring/reward mechanism.

Further reading on xbox live on WM7 is available here.

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Game Based Learning

It looks like 2010 may be the year of Game Based Learning. With new commercial products such as Manga High hitting the shelves and already established community built sites such as Primary Games Arena it is becoming clear to me that educators are climbing over the mountain of scepticism towards using games to learn and embracing it with open arms.

I do wonder how sites like Primary Games Arena will embrace the new curriculum. Currently games are themed and have some strategy/game play built around that theme. IE you could have a Viking counting game but you couldn’t turn that game from a Viking counting game to a Tudors counting game.

What are your thoughts on using games to learn?
My thoughts on this is that games could have a new approach, building the logic separate from the theme, allowing users to specify their own style and context but keeping the challenges fun, educational and relevant.
How would you approach this change? Would you begin categorizing games based on a theme?

I expect I will get the usual response of, “Game based learning has been relevant for years”. I don’t disagree with this but the momentum and availability behind gaming is certainly increasing.

Have you been able to find the right game for your lesson?

My recommendation (because im biased) is to check out:

Safe Curriculum games plugin / widget for WordPress & WPMU


Put the top 5 curriculum games from Primary Games Arena onto your blog.
  1. Download from here
  2. Unzip to wp-contents/plugins
  3. Activate site wide (In plugins)
  4. Log into wp-admin
  5. Click Appearance > Widgets
  6. Drag the widget onto your sidebar


Second Life or Virtual 3d Worlds in Primary Schools

Naace are running a conference on using 3d virtual worlds in education. I can’t help but feeling this is mostly focused on the secondary market but I guess it has some relevance to Primary.

Right now, even though I feel it has relevance I feel skeptical that this is a good idea but I could be wrong, it’s happened before 😛

Try to remember most primary school kids don’t even have email addresses provided by their schools yet and we’re going to open them up to a second life (be it walled or not)

I’m not going to rant about security or child safety. I want to focus entirely on the point. Right now, I just don’t get it.

I’m not going to download it or try it out, I don’t want to know if it feels good or clever. This isn’t a particularly new concept. Games have been used in Primary Education for years, mostly cartoony games that are very simple. Why do I need my character to walk to a piece of work to pick it up when its available on my VLE.. (I’m pretending I’m a kid…)

I do however think games is a great way to encourage kids to learn, Primary Games Arena is having huge success worldwide with engaging children in fun learning.

Virtual worlds should be all about engaging with other people, school mates for example.

Maybe the whole Digital Citizenship is what I don’t get. Being that I started with BBS, moved to IRC + LPMUD, now I have every possible way of being “Hailed” 24/7… Come to think of it I think I probably learned a lot of social skills through LPMuds (Multi user environments)..

I think I will go spend some time thinking about what Digital Citizenship is and how it will feel in 3/5 years time when virtual worlds MAY be at their peak. They certainly haven’t peaked yet and all the hype from Second Life is blatant hot air..

I may have just begun a revolution in my head.. Oh dear..

If you read this all the way through then you may wish to consider reading this article of Terry freedmans interview of Miller – its focused more at secondary but you get the picture..