Imagine you are student in class listening to the same lecture as last week. The information may be different, but it’s the same type of lesson, and you just aren’t interested enough to pay attention anymore. Your eyes begin to close the minute the teacher starts writing on the board and you begin to daydream.
Most people would say that these kids are lazy and just don’t want to learn, instead of considering why they are falling asleep in the first place. What if their brains are just under stimulated, making retaining any information difficult and tiring. Even an interesting subject becomes boring.
So what can we do? The answer: InterAction, a new type of interactive learning for the classroom.
Remember the educational computer games you may have played at school as a child, like the popular Oregon Trail, where you pretended to try and take the long trek West for a new life?
InterAction will take these games to the next level by bringing them into classroom instruction. Students will be able to insert themselves into the material they are learning about.
Imagine being a part of the Boston Tea Party and protesting against the British imposition of taxes on your town. Or using your math and graphing skills in “real-life” situations.
Some students can’t learn by reading a book, listening to a lecture or writing an essay. InterAction will allow these students to become active with the subject matter and give them a more personal perspective, allowing them to connect to and develop an overall deeper understanding of the material.
Ask most kids and they can tell you exactly what they did while playing video games, but can barely remember what they learned in school that day. It is time to make learning the same kind of interactive experience as these games so students can find more enjoyment with learning.
InterAction is intended for students in grades K-12, as different lessons can be developed for students at different levels,
The technology would involve use of full-body motion control for students to interact with the material, technology currently use for high-end video games like the Xbox Kinect system.
My plan has two aspects. The first involves the actual design of the lessons. I want to get university students in the areas of game design and computer science to volunteer to create the first versions of the interactive lessons. It would give college students an innovation challenge to work on while lessening the cost in developing the InterAction system.
The second aspect involves finding a way to make this technology cost-effective for every type of school by creating collaborations between big technology companies like Microsoft and Intel. Many of these companies already have standing initiatives to bring more technology into the classroom. The companies could help incorporate much more technology into schools through their involvement in this project.
Funding would also be found through the submission of government grants through the Department of Education and other sources.
I also want to work with current education and technology organizations to bring InterAction into schools. The Organization for Educational Technology & Curriculum (OETC) would be great to work with, as they help develop learning and education by bringing better technology into schools.
The same goes for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), another association that wants to bring teachers and administrators together to improve the use of technology in education.
A beta version of InterAction can possibly come out in one to two years. Ten different types of schools will be chosen to test the lessons, incorporating them into a few different curriculums to see how they work with current teaching styles.
The project will involve a lot of work and collaboration between different groups and organizations. But if we can bring a new type of learning to the current educational system, it will all be worth it.