Kinecting with young learners in South Africa

Games based learning has always offered a lot of opportunity, but Kinect is clearly accelerating innovation in this area. Kinect is a console adapter for Xbox 360 – it has a dual camera system that enables users to control software through their gestures.  It’s an immersive experience, and learners can use their whole body– arms, legs, hands, and feet – to interact with software, and devices such as interactive whiteboards.    

There are signs that Kinect can be used to make classroom based learning more effective. For example, in Lakeside Elementary school in Vryheid, KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, Kinnect has been used to improve literacy and numeracty.

Kinnect was put into 6 classrooms and a curriculum was developed to exploit the technology. Lesson content included:

  • A bowling game was used for numeracy – children counted how many pins were knocked down and how many were left
  • The creation of avatars to teach life-skills
  • Students used Kinnect to conduct quizzes on eye and hair color
  • Students developed their kinesthetic intelligences through a dance game
  • Kinectimals was used to develop sentence construction and punctuation skills

For the teachers, the key benefit is that levels of interaction have sharply increased. For one 9 year old with severe hearing difficulties, scoring the highest in “Dance Central” meant a significant boost in confidence.

We can expect to see much more innovation based on Kinect, and a powerful illustration of how Kinect can be used to make learning more effective can be seen here:

To see how else the Kinectimals game cen be used in the classroom, click here.–

Thanks to Reza Bardien, Ashley Sanichar, Angela Schaerer, Victor Ngobeni, Nyaladzi Mpofu and Larry Venter

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