I am amazed at some of the technologies that were discussed in the 2011 Horizon Report. It is almost overwhelming to know that we, teachers, will probably be using some of these technologies in the coming years. Just when you think you have mastered one form of technology, another form is introduced. At my school, we have already started phasing out textbooks. All of our textbooks are available on line. Students can log in and complete homework without the use of physical textbooks. I guess one day there will not be a need for book bags! We also have laptop carts so students have access to laptops during the day. I can see that soon students will probably be using electronic books. Many students already have IPads and other mobile devices.
While reading the 2011 Horizon Report, the technology that I found very interesting was the “gesture based” computing. In gesture based computing, computing is triggered by human gestures. I know that there are computer games that already use this technology, but the idea of using it in teaching is amazing. According to the 2011 Horizon Report, examples of gesture based computing include:
•Georgia Tech University researchers who have developed gesture-based games to help deaf children learn linguistics.
•The Sixth Sense project from MIT provides a gesture interface that can be used to augment information into real world spaces.
•Wii based medical training-After discovering the significant improvement in dexterity that surgeons-in-training gained from playing with the Wii (48%), researchers are developing a set of Wii-based medical training materials.
In my school district, each classroom has a Promethean Board. I can see being able to use these boards like giant iTouch screen. The students would be able to actually manipulate objects on the screen with a touch, or a gesture. This technology would be easy for students to use, as most of them already have gesture based games such as Wii.
Some web sites to take a look at that use gesture based programs are:
Siftables: The future of play. A gesture based play platform that has the potential for educational impact. https://www.sifteo.com/
Delicious (a social bookmarking site): Gesture-Based Computing – http://delicious.com/tag/hz10+altinput
Other gesture based technology is already in the works. MIT researchers have developed a system that could make gestural interfaces much more practical, and inexpensive. Aside from a standard webcam, like those found in many new computers, the system uses only a single piece of hardware: a multicolored Lycra glove that could be manufactured for about a dollar (Hardesty,Larry). This glove uses finger gestures to manipulate objects. It’s current application would be for games. However, it’s creators envision its use in other platforms.
There are numerous videos available on YouTube about gesture based computing. These are a few that I found very interesting:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8jtplHcAYg This video discusses the basics of gesture based computing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3garGwa63E This video is really cool. It discusses Evoluce multi touch and touchless gesture based computing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0OAQX1ZbQs&feature=relmfu This is a technology that couch potatoes will love. Gesture based remote control.
The implications that I can foresee with using gesture based technology in the classroom is the cost and the complexity. Schools would have to purchase the software and tools to use with the technology. Hopefully, some aspects of computing will still have to be controlled manually. For me, I would hate to see students not learn basic keyboarding skills.