Using the Kinect to Revolutionize Education.

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Keeping students engaged and involved in their learning is a challenge for most educators. But for children with special learning needs, it can be daunting – especially for a first-time teacher. “When I first started, I had never worked with any students with autism so to say I was intimidated would be putting it mildly. The occupational therapist that worked with me at the time was amazing. She would tell me what the kids needed sensory-wise, and I would figure out how to make it academic. Sensory integration opened up a whole new world for not only me, but most importantly, for my students. I saw what a dramatic difference there was in my students once they had an aligned sensory system. After witnessing firsthand the success of using the Xbox Kinect with my special needs students, I was inspired to get my students involved in the process and create a sensory-integrated, academic Kinect game that would appeal to all types of students and so “Brain Drain” was born. Brain Drain mixes research-based, proven, effective fine and gross motor movements with sensory integrated tasks to create the highest learning environment possible. Students use their body and spatial awareness skills to complete academic learning tasks. “When students of all learning styles have an aligned and balanced sensory system, they are able to retain more information and learn new tasks at a much higher and more efficient rate. The best thing that happened to sensory integration (and me) was the Microsoft Kinect for Xbox. The Kinect is an amazing way to incorporate movement into the educational day. That is what inspired me to create the fully academic, sensory integrated Kinect game “Brain Drain.” Brain Drain is an academic Kinect experience that is designed to get students up and out of their chairs. It allows them to move and interact with their environment in a safe and educational way. They are required to answer academic questions, save the world from the evil Doctor’s and their “Phantom Virus” all while having fun. Even if I am not using Brain Drain, I use the Kinect and its camera to help improve my student’s sign language. They sign into the Kinect camera, and can see what their signs look like. The most important part about this is they see a mirror image of themselves. When they sign, they are not signing to themselves, they sign to a partner. By seeing their signs as a mirror image, they can see what the other person would see. This helps them realize if they have to move their hand up, down, how their finger shape is, and if they are signing slowly and clearly. Technology has truly opened up new doors for my special education students that I never thought possible before. Your text to link here...

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