Sunday, November 18, 2012

Blog post #12

Xbox 360 logo
The Assignment

Students at Steuart W. Weller Elementary School in Ashburn, VA are playing video games in their classroom. The schools have partnered with Microsoft and are using the Xbox 360 with the kinect attachment to teach their students nearly every subject.
1. Visit the Microsoft in education page. Read the overview of the program and watch the videos (you might have to click watch as wvm link on the bottom).
2. Click the school tab at the top of the page. This shows over 200 activities that can the done with the kinect.
3.Visit their facebook page. This page is filled with even more good ideas and articles on the kinect.
4.Read the article Gesturing to Learn.
Select two or three of the activities under the school tab on the Microsoft in education page. Write a blog post describing what the kinect is and how you would use this technology in your classroom. What are some of the other advantages of using the Xbox in the classroom? The disadvantages? Write the blog post following the quality blog post guidelines.

The blog post

Video games have elolved a long way since the days of the cartridge. Just twenty-five years ago video games were only using eight bits of memory and if you wanted a multiplayer experience that required friends coming together and sitting on the same couch. Today the video game world is filled with 3-D images, and the multiplayer can connect you with anywhere in the world. The games themselves receives too much of the credit when this topic arises. The true evolving element here is the system console. It has been the games that have been forced to keep up with them.

In 2010 Microsoft released the kinect for the Xbox 360 gaming console. The kinect allows players to interact with the game without the use of a controller. It does this by using a camera with motion capture software to recognize the players into front of it. The camera tracks the movement and that movement is the required input to make the game work.

Today Microsoft is partnering with school to bring this technology into the classroom. They even provide some sample activities and lesson plans that will keep the students engaged and excited about learning. The following are three games that have the potential to meet these goals.

Fast Facts Students can increase their fluency by practicing these facts while playing the fast-paced game, "Meter Reader", in "Body and Brain Connection".

1. Teach students mental strategies for quickly adding numbers together into the teens.
2. Students play the game Meter Reader.
3. Students quickly compute sums and lean their bodies to indicate whether the answer is less than, equal to, or greater than 10.
4. While one student plays the game, the rest of the class can practice writing down the sums as quickly as possible to test their own fluency.

Additional activities

Students call out the answer as they lean. The class counts the number of problems that can be solved by using specific math strategies such as “fast nines,” “doubles,” “neighbors ” or “neighbors plus one.” Common Core connections This activity relates to mathematical content 1–5 standards.​

This game will encourage students to become fluent in math. As the instructs states "fluency is key to math success for children." While this can still be seen as a game there is no denying that the proper use of this game will allow students to take a more proactive approach to math.

Exploring the periodic table

If the elements on the periodic table could talk, what would they say? Playing "Googly Eyes", in kinect fun labs, gives students a chance to bring an element from the periodic table to life.

1. Assign each student an element from the periodic table to research.
2. Students document the properties and characteristics of their element.
3. Students construct a simple 3D paper model of their element. Have them color it and add more features (at your discretion).
4. Students render their 3D paper models as 3D animated models in the game. They record clips of themselves “acting” as their assigned elements during the game. They also describe and record their elements’ characteristics.
5. Show all clips to the class, and have students take notes throughout the showing.
6. Students turn in their notes and/or collaborate with their peers to promote knowledge sharing.

Additional activity Explore the effects of combining elements and the new characteristics that would result. Then discuss yielding equations and the mathematical properties governing this process.

Common Core connections This activity relates to mathematical content K–12 standards.

I need to do a little more research on the movie captures on the Xbox. I think this would make for a very interesting movie project for the students. I would tell them that we are making a movie but in reality they would be learning the elements.


​Students dress up as their favorite historical character and transform them into an avatar! Playing Kinect Me in Kinect Fun Labs helps bring historical figures to life and enriches students’ sense and appreciation of history, understanding of historical figures, and awareness of character.

1. Students choose a famous person from history.
2. They research the life of the person.
3. They prepare a costume similar to what the historical figure wore.
4. Wearing their costume, students pose in front of the camera to create their avatar likeness. While posing, they explain why they chose the figure and the clothes.
5. Then they act out their character, moving and talking as their historical figure.
6. Their historical avatar does whatever they do on the screen.

Additional activities

Groups of students reenact a famous situation from the life of the historical figure. Students try to guess who the figure is as the scene is acted out.

Common Core connections This activity relates to speaking and listening 6–12 standards.

This activity would be treated like a movie. Rather than just one student at time, it would be more effective to have several students act out a historical situation. This will influence the student to do research on the chosen person and to be creative will acting out the scene.

The amazing thing about the Xbox 360 is that it is no longer just a gaming system. The console has the power to connect classrooms over the video connect software. This will allow students to see that they are not alone in the world.

The Xbox 360 has so many different apps that I could write a blog post everyday for a year and still not capture the potential of this wonderful device. The world of tomorrow is going to be built on the back of technology, and this will be a good way to introduce technology to our students.


  1. Daniel,
    I have learned a lot about games in your post. There is a wealth of information in this post. I only see a few errors. I thought you did a good job.

  2. Hi Daniel,

    I had no idea how many different things were possible with the xbox connect in education! Thanks for this post! This would be a great assignment for edm!

    Stephen Akins