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.

Levin Furniture

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.

Lehmans


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

Three exonerated of murder convictions from 18 years ago
Thanks heavens that none of them have been condemned to death. This alons should convince the USA to join the civilized world by abolishing the death penalty. E...

Kombucha: a sweet business brewed with fermented tea
Stevia is not an artificial sweetener. It is a plant. I have one growing in my sunroom. The leaves are dried and added to teas. It's harvested commercially and...

Bringing back ballet in Cleveland
I do think Ballet in Cleveland is doing good things, but the fact that director says "When we have flourishing companies like the New York City Ballet and the A...

Report confirms some Vietnam veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange
was in nam 1969 exposed va stated lost medical records was in lawsuit from 197? till settled 0 $ 2010 ? said all nam vets will get back disability till 198? jus...

Mentorship grant program redefines "faith-based" provision
Can't anyone have values, beliefs, and morals anymore? How is it anymore unconstitutional for a school partner with a "faith-based" organization than any other ...

Exploradio: The challenge of finding a healthy balance with technology
Thank you, Jeff, for another well done Exploradio. I always learn something interesting about what is happening in NE Ohio.

Northeast Ohio's transgender community rallies around restroom issue
A good first step would be for Cleveland to require restaurants to have a public restroom. Cleveland is the only city I've ever been in where restaurants somet...

Vapor shops say tobacco tax hikes could hit them hard
Maybe you should be DOING a study, since every time you've tried to villianize them all that's happened was the opposite. I'm not a fan of alcohol that's flavor...

New law gives access to birth records to Ohio adoptees
Can siblings also look for their missing brother or sister? And how do we go about it?

Ida McKinley's tiara comes home, with the help of "Pawn Stars"
I donated to the fund to keep the tiara at the museum where I believe it belongs. I took my 16 year old granddaughter to the showing I dont think it will be som...

Copyright © 2015 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