Recently I have been playing about with the XBOX Kinect plugged into my laptop. It really has opened my eyes to the potential of the kinect in the classroom. How often do our students say “oh sir not another PowerPoint”. By using the kinect it gives presenting information a new dimention for our students. For those teachers out there that are saying under their breath “why not just use a mouse”. You really have no idea. Not everyone teaches in a private school where the students are switched on all the time. Students in my classes now want to create presentations because they know once they have completed their work they can present it in a way that reflects a science fiction film (Minority Report for those who don’t watch films).

A few months ago a real buzz started on twitter about the use of Microsoft Kinect in the classroom. A few of us started to look at how this wonderful piece of technology could be used to enthuse our learners. Twitter, being the fantastic network that it is helped a few of us discuss the potential of the Kinect in the classroom. It will come as no surprise that the teachers that have been working with the Kinect and looking at the potential it has are all Microsoft Innovative Teachers and it is through the power of Twitter that these teachers have come together to help and support each other to create some fantastic resources for the classroom. Ray Chambers has looked into the depths of what the SDK pack for the Kinect can do. I have spoken with Ray on the phone and via twitter and he has written an excellent guide to set up the Kinect on his blog.

A few months ago Microsoft released the SDK pack for the Kinect. This enables you to create fun, rich learning resources for your classroom.

The Godfather of these Microsoft Innovative Teachers Stuart Ball has written an excellent entry on the Microsoft education blog about how, as teachers we have worked together via twitter to develop these resources. It is true to say that the teachers involved have a passion for the use of technology in the classroom and the idea of using cutting-edge technology to aid their teaching.

I teach at Willows High School in Cardiff and it is fair to say that we have some challenging pupils. I am a firm believer that if children are enjoying what they are doing they won’t want to mess about. Technology plays a huge part in that theory. At home children are playing on their Xbox 360’s or the PlayStation 3’s and when they fail a level the first thing they do is have another go and they don’t give up. By bringing some of this technology into the classroom, hopefully their effort and want to succeed will follow.

In this video you will see a clip from minority report which clearly shows the type of thing we are aiming for.

In this video you will see a year 11 pupil called Corey Whittle playing an interactive keyboard using hand gesture with the Kinect.

In this video Corey has edited the quiz for teachers created by Ray Chambers and return a quiz folly year seven pupils who attend the Music Technology Club at Willows High School.

In this video Corey controls a PowerPoint presentaion with embeded video with the Kinect

In this video you will see two ear 7 pupils from my special needs music class using the Kinect and discussing why they like it.