News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Meaden & Moore

Metro RTA


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Science and Technology




Exploradio - The Kinect connection

Researchers at the University of Akron are out to prove that a picture may be worth a thousand words in modern education.
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR
This story is part of a special series.



Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
The Kinect team at the University of Akron incorporate the 3-D gaming with system science education. From left, psychology professor Phil Allen, biomedical engineer Yang Yun, and computer scientist Tom Xaio.
Courtesy of U. of Akron
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Some educators believe analog education -  think chalk boards and lectures -  is failing to reach a generation of kids raised on high-tech video games and virtual worlds. In this week’s Exploradio, we meet a team of researchers at the University of Akron who believe a 3-D gaming consul can help bridge education’s digital divide.

Exploradio - The Kinect connection

Other options:
MP3 Download (3:32)


Kinetic education

Tech lovers in California gasped as the latest Xbox rolled out last year.

Microsoft spent half-a-billion dollars promoting its new motion-gaming system.  The technology is impressive;  the Xbox Kinect has a 3-D motion sensing camera that allows users to control the computer with slight movements of their hands, or even ‘getting down’ with their whole bodies.

Psychology professor Phil Allen is one of three University of Akron researchers who’s excited about the Kinect -- not because of the latest Michael Jackson dance game, but because of its potential to teach kids about science. 

“The world as we’ve taught it before is static. The world though isn’t static, it’s dynamic. It’s relations, how we interact with our environment.  People are interacting with their environment with the Kinect system.”

Allen says young kids learn better when they’re allowed to move around, and that doesn’t stop in primary school.

“It happens your whole life, and when you take the motoric part out, you take part of the learning experience out.  And we want to put it back in.”

Computer scientist Tom Xaio is the second member of the team.  He demonstrates how the Kinect allows him to make robots dance on a projected screen.

“And I’m just waving my hands in the air. It’s total hands-free control of the computer.”

Xaio is writing programs that take advantage of the Kinect’s movement interface.  He imagines a game where students learn how viruses attack cells by BEING the virus, and BEING the cell in a motion-filled video .

“So now you become part of the material, you interact with the material.  You use your hand to open up a cancer cell to examine what’s inside.”

Stimulating the visual brain 

Biomedical engineer Yang Yun is the third member of the Akron team.  He says it makes sense to present visual information such as how a virus attacks a cell by using visual technology.

“Every student, every person, has a visual part of the brain. And by directly stimulating that part of the brain using this technology, we hope to make the learning more efficient.”

The team plans to study how well students learn a series of science subjects using modules created for the Kinect compared with traditional teaching methods.

How much students retain will be measured using written tests. But in a second part of the study, psychologist Phil Allen will use special MRI scans to measure changes within the students’ brains.

After about six months of learning through computer projections, Allen expects that he’ll see changes in the part of the brain that processes visual information.

“This measures the communication networks in the brain; they’re called the white matter tracks of these neural circuits. And we can measure the density of them before and after the intervention.”

The team is developing four separate teaching modules.  Then, with help from a National Science Foundation grant, the University of Akron researchers will give each of three local high schools six laptops, projectors and Kinect consuls.  

The schools are Akron's Firestone High School and North High School, and McKinley High School in Canton.  That part of the project will get underway late next year, the development of the four teaching modules starts in January.

Later they’ll test whether today’s kids learn better with the high-tech Kinect or the traditional chalkboard. 

I’m Jeff St.Clair with this week’s Exploradio.


Related Links & Resources
Other uses of the Kinect...


Related WKSU Stories

Exploradio - The papyrus window
Monday, November 7, 2011

Exploradio - The art of the skull menders
Monday, October 31, 2011

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook



Support for Exploradio
provided by:








Stories with Recent Comments

Top staffers are leaving the FitzGerald gubernatorial campaign
I's too bad that the dirt on Fitzgerald dug up by Kasich's operatives and publicized heavily by the Yellow Plain Dealer has caused the weak staffers of the Fitz...

Churches come together to welcome and include Gay Games athletes
Nicely done!!! A little known fact about the El Salvadoran and Columbian scholarships.. A big thank you to the Faith Community for their support of Gay Games 9....

What do Ohio farmers need to do to control Lake Erie problems?
This was a great article, thank you, Karen Schaefer. There was an error- Roger Wise is the past president of the Ohio Farmer's Union; not the Ohio Farm Bureau ...

Registration for the 2014 Gay Games ends Monday at midnight
Judy Benson and Sally Tatnall are loved and appreciated by all in our community and throughout the US for their untiring work for OLOC and for educating the com...

Like any family, the Gay Games has its generation gaps
Great article ... important perspective.

Gay Games rodeo: Changing stereotypes
Robin, Thank you for a fine piece of recorded history. This is history in the making; a gay, Asian man, one of the last bronc riders in IGRA, and Rodeo at Gay G...

Ohio lawmakers hold hearing on prison food problems
So you fine them..this has been going onand the law makers are aware of this issue.I have been told by many about the maggots and rotten food not fit for a dog ...

Interview with early Beatle Pete Best
"the Leshdu (?) Quartet.." Actually that's the Les Stewart Quartet. George Harrison was in that band at the same time as the Quarry Men.

Experts debate whether to legalize marijuana in Ohio
I'm an Iraq war veteran and I know for a fact that medical marijuana will help my PTSD.. I can't stand taken these freaking pills mo more. I will not bow when t...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University