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“The moving classroom” – A short status report

June 26, 2012

Active moving classrooms exists and the sky’s the limit.

However, it seems in countries like the USA the sky is higher up than in Germany. My 13-year-old American godson easily deals with active whiteboards when presenting the results of one of his project and designing a PowerPoint presentation is quite natural to him. Skills that most of my students still need to learn. His school is well equipped as are other schools in the USA as I could experience first hand when I participated in a two-week exchange program with South Carolina in 2003. Each classroom was equipped with a Smart board and the software corresponding to the subject tought was in place as well. Students and teachers were all well acquainted with the technology. Some schools even broadcasted their own school news and they had a newsroom that was pretty comparable with a mid-size TV station. The inviting college used 3D technology in their healthcare section and where just constructing a new building on campus with an even bigger room stuffed with 3D technology. I can just imagine what technology they are using now, but gesture based computing might be one of them e.g.  here the student explains DNA to her class by turning and sizing the image that appears on-screen, shown in the ‘Kinect Effect‘ video.

There is a lot of talk about paradigm shift and that the teachers the digital immigrants need to catch up with their students the digital natives and of course single-minded teachers who don’t want to move on and stick with their traditional teaching is can be a threat to education 2.0, but I think the biggest limitation here in the German education system is to obtain funding.  Fact is, that we just have two Smart boards so far in my school, a vocational school with more than 2500 student. Right now we are getting a new wing, but the new healthcare room will not become equipped with a Smart board, but just a whiteboard 😦  thus explaining DNA like shown in the video will stay a pie in the sky.

I know I should stop ranting, but seeing what is already possible and that the majority of educators will be not able to utilize it in the medium-term future, probably not even in the remote future makes me sad, because similar to  improweise I agree that there should be more activity in a classroom and that this can foster cooperation. A lesson could look like here in the image, wouldn’t that be a nice picture to draw?

Claudia Bremer summarized very well the ideas from #opco12 participants ranging from applications in math or biology to make that subjects with gesture-based computing more comprehensible through touch (learning4me), over the virtual patient that future nursing staff could practice to positioning the right way – a possible application hanseatin suggested. Also interesting is the SensFloor which gives alarm when a patient fell on the floor or leaves the room. Absolutely cool. Most applications suggest that activity and motion in the classroom is not only more engaging, but also unwind and takes less effort than sitting for hours on a chair. It also improves the social experience doing things together (Sabine Hueber).

The first week clearly showed that we are all fascinated by the opportunities that gesture-based computing has to offer. Which educator would not like to have a Kinect or a similar technology in his classroom and raise teaching and learning to a new level. However, we all see limitations, not necessarily with the technology itself  nor with an appropriate pedagogy, but mainly with the lack of financial resources. Yet, this technology and it’s application is still in one’s infancy and time will show if gesture-based computing will cross the chasm (Geoffrey Moore) and will be taken up by the majority, or if  just some early adopters will apply this technology.

From → #OPCO12

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