KINECT Generations

The KINECT Generations Project has been set up to help engage and inspire students to look at learning from a different perspective. It was also set up to show that there is no generation gap in learning and that anyone can learn regardless of age or experience. I hope that this project will help students develop their collaboration skills as well as take ownership of their learning.

The KINECT Generations Project is built around Microsoft’s KINECT SDK software and KINECT® sensor. I feel that it is important to point out that although the KINECT device and Software is relatively new. The application of the device and software will be used on existing and established programs within the classroom environment.

One of the main aims of this project apart from showing students learning can be fun is to show that you can use existing technologies and software in conjunction with new innovative technologies and software developments to have a completely different perspective on how to find solutions to problems and make the learning environment inclusive and fun. Updates on The KINECT Generations Project will appear here on this section of the webite, so keep checking back.

Part One of “The KINECT Generations Project”

Date: 31/08/2011

So after some thought I decided to go out and buy a KINECT sensor before going back to school, this is so I could have a proper look at what it can do in my own time. I am really glad I did it is amazing and I have only just scratched the surface, as I type this I am patently downloading Visual Studio Express so I can get on to the programming side of things.

So what have I done so far, I have installed the KINECT SDK software and hooked up the KINECT sensor to my laptop. I then started to have a play around the speech recognition software that comes with windows 7. Now normally I would say stay away from speech recognition, as it can be quite temperamental. For those that of you who know me I have got a little bit of a Westcountry accent so speech recognition does not normally go hand in hand with that. I am not sure if it’s the software that Microsoft supplies with Windows 7 or the fact that the KINECT has a Microphone array but it works fine I am even using it now to dictate this blog post!

I have also looked at the sample skeletal viewer which comes with the KINECT SDK software. I am currently in a small office which is about 2 meters squared with a desk and built-in wardrobes, and it picked me up fine. All in all so far I am really impressed how easy the KINECT is to set up to a Laptop or PC and get results. It just works and I cannot wait to use this with my students! I will be doing more updates as the project progresses.

Part Two of “The KINECT Generations Project”

Date: 01/09/2011

Ok so I have had the KINECT for just over a day now and I have found a number
of codes/applications already created for the KINECT. One of which is a cursor
control application so I downloaded and tried it out. It works brilliantly
really easy to use. I have created a video below which shows how you can use the
KINECT microphone array in conjunction with the cursor control; I thought that
the best way to try this out is by using Microsoft’s World Wide Telescope. If
you haven’t seen the Microsoft video have a look at my previous augmented
reality post.

It appears that as I am writing this, waiting for the YouTube video to
upload, that @Lanky_Boi_Ray has already been playing around with this and
has blogged about it already here is his blog entry about this.

Anyway regardless if this has already been talked about it is still very
cool. I still love the fact that you can combine the voice recognition with the
cursor control.

In fact the KINECT is so easy to use even my 2-year-old daughter Rosie can
use it. In the video below she is controlling the Earth by the movement of her
hands.

This is an excellent example of how we can use the KINECT and Augmented
Reality within the classroom making education accessible and inclusive
regardless of age or experience. More to come soon…

Part Three of “The KINECT Generations Project”

Date: 06/09/2011

Really excited I have finally got to use the Microsoft KINECT with some of
the students the results of this can be found in the video below. They loved
every minute of it. We looked at using the cursor control program along with
Microsoft’s World-Wide Telescope to explore the solar system and look at
different planets. The students relished in the fact they were immersed in the
process rather than sat there listening to the teacher. Even students who would
sometimes be disengaged in the thought of being involved in the learning process
sat up and took notice and wanted to be involved.

Another program I have tried out is the Augmented Reality program. You would
have seen my daughter Rosie using this in a previous post. We used this program
to look for and locate different countries of the world. The students really
enjoyed this as they had not really seen anything like this before. Once they
had learnt how to control the earth in their hands this became easy for them to
position the globe where they want it.

We then had a very special guest appearance by Dan Roberts aka
@Chickensaltash he showed the students a KINECT program that comes free with the
KINECT SDK package (he also brings a new meaning to the term “The Funky
Chicken”). Normally used as a simple game we used it to show the students how
Physics engines work with in ICT as well as how skeletal tracking works. The
students really enjoyed this and asked lots of questions about how it all work
and how they could make their own versions or variations of the program. The
students are now very geared up for the start of the academic year.

Microsoft KINECT in a classroom

I intend to look at how else the Microsoft KINECT can be used in other
subjects within the curriculum. All of this innovation can be picked up for
around £100 as all of the software needed to set this up is free via Microsoft.
I can honestly say it is the best bit of technology I have brought in a very
long time.

More to come soon…

Part Four of “The KINECT Generations Project”

Date: 06/10/2011

Ok so its been a while since I have updated everyone on the work I am doing
with the KINECT. this is mainly due to the fact I have been chasing down
permission slips for students to be videoed. I will be doing a proper full
update once I have all of those slips in. I have been working with our SEN
department on how the KINECT can be used within the classroom to help stimulate
and engage students with SEN like I said i will be doing a post on that later
once I have all those permission slips. In the mean time though I tried the
KINECT out with some year 9 students, the over all response I got from the
students was amazing. They loved how they could take a topic that was not that
interactive and could immerse there selves via the KINECT.

After the lesson I asked my students to write down which subjects they felt
the KINECT could be used in as well as what they thought of the lesson. the
results can be found below in the video.

More to come very soon….

Part Five of “The KINECT Generations Project”

Date: 18/11/2011

Hi all, as mentioned in my last update I have been working closely with the
SEN department at our school. We have been using the Microsoft KINECT to help
develop hand eye co-ordination, motor skills, building confidence as well as
making learning fun.

What I loved about this particular situation was that the students all
decided to help each other and encouraged each other to take part within the
lesson. We covered a wide range of topics from using Augmented Reality (AR) to
learn about Geography to visual stimulation by creating pictures with the
movements of the student’s arms and hands. The students particularly like the
full skeletal tracking section of the lesson.

All of this brought up some very interesting conversation from the students.
They all started talking about how they would use this in various different
subjects and how they could have used it for what they had already been learning
about from previous lessons

To my surprise all of the students were engaged and wanted to take part in
the lesson. I was told to not expect too much participation as I was not the
student’s regular teacher.

At some points in the lessons the students where teaching each other on how
to use the KINECT and explaining to each other how the KINECT would be used in
specific subjects. This built up a great sense of achievement and ownership. I
was really happy to see the students fully engaged in the lessons and the fact
they enjoyed the lessons.

Although I have used the KINECT with a wide range of classes all of which
loved using the technology in their lessons, I wanted to focus on students with
Special Educational Needs. I felt that the KINECT could offer something special
to these particular students who were not always forthcoming when participating
within lessons.

From the video below you can see all of the students where really keen to
take part in the lesson; this built up there confidence as well as aided their
hand eye co-ordination and motor skills, as mentioned earlier. To a vast
majority of the students in the class this was a major barrier in their learning
and this project helped them overcome this boundary.

Using the Microsoft KINECT with SEN Students

I would be more than happy to share the lesson plan and resources used for
this lesson. Just drop me a line and I will forward them on to you. I also plan
on creating a VCT based around this project for the Microsoft Partners in
Learning Network, so the information about this will also be in that. For those
of you who are not aware about the Microsoft Partners in Learning Network please
have a look at one of my previous posts or visit here.

I will be continuing with this project over the next few months as I strongly
feel that the KINECT is one of biggest leaps in technology within education for
a long time!

So please keep checking back…..

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4 thoughts on “KINECT Generations

  1. GREAT Commitment.I have learnt a great deal You are an angel in 2012!
    .Can you download a mono education video from http://www.designmate.com and tell me how it works with KINECT.
    I wanna try KINECT in Kenya …East Africa. and i have several 3D simulations and annimations from designmate.If it works KINECT will be better than investing in a 3D projector

    • Hi, thanks for your interest in the KINECT. The way I got the KINECT to interface with World Wide Telescope was to download the KINECT SDK and C# express. I then found a program called “cursor control”. This allowed me to control the cursor and navigate the solar system on World Wide Telescope. I also enabled the voice recognition on Windows so I could use that as well. It works ok and is simple enough for a child to use as there aren’t many gestures to remember. If you need any more help please ask. Hope this helps 🙂

  2. I would be very grateful for a copy of your SEN plans and resources. What range of SEN were you working with? I have only used the kinect with the Xbox for games based learning but your blog has inspired me to find out more about the kinect.

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