Microsoft Kinect

Microsoft Kinect – Closing the gap the Gap between Education and Entertainment

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Tomasz Kowalczyk. He is a software developer from Poland and received his B.Sc in Information Technology in 2010 and his M.Sc in Computer Science in 2011 both from Military University in Warsaw, Poland. He is an author of many technology articles for Microsoft.

Tomasz is interested in natural user interface and gamification. You can follow him on Twitter @tomkowalczyk.

Microsoft Kinect

Education in Polish schools not necessary has to be boring and of little interest to pupils. A modern teacher is someone who always has to think how to enhance student learning and make his class entertaining and innovative. It is not always an easy task, but with the help of technology it is possible.

The potential of the technology that is around us can close the gap between education and entertainment. Making the best of the pupils’ reserves of energy in class was something we had in mind while working on this project. Natural user interface teaching method has come up with some interesting results.

Along with a teacher of English, Łukasz Rumiński, we decided to join forces and skills to breathe new life into Polish education. We have used Kinect sensor and three custom applications to find out how this method of teaching would be taken by the pupils. It is worth mentioning that all the work has been carried out in our free time, outside working hours, but the idea of making something great for the students has helped us take the project up to an acceptable level.

Each of the applications works using Kinect for Windows SDK and is targeted at pupils of different ages. It was tested at John Paul II Primary and Junior High School in Jamielnik, Poland.

Below you can find a short description of the custom and tested applications:

Kinect Human Body – application which uses Drag&Drop feature. It allows the youngest pupils to learn English words. The task is to drag the correct word into the correct place. The following video shows you a six-year-old pupil who has no trouble solving the task about the human body and having fun at the same time. This project has been well reviewed by the Coding4Fun web portal.

Kinect Numbers Game – Metro style application targeted at older students. Arranging numbers in the correct order is the focal point of this game. It also measures the time making it competitive for the pupils. The video below shows you Junior High school students.

Kinect Q&A – this project consists of two applications: question editor and hand gesture application. The teacher creates his set of questions and answers in the editor and sets the time for the answers. There are always two answers and the pupil has to choose one by using simple hand gestures. Every answer, whether correct or wrong, is counted and the results immediately pop up on the screen. When the game is finished you can also have a photo taken, which you can later share on Facebook via the application.

To sum up, we plan on developing these applications and create new ones as these have gone down well with the pupils and teachers – it is a highly motivating factor. Anyone willing to help our team feel free to contact us.

EDUKWEST Guest Contributor.

  • Just to be clear, what is the connection setup?
    Kinect -> long cable to PC -> projector?
    Is that what I’m seeing?