While today's referenced post mentions some projects using other drivers and platforms, I thought the importance of what they are trying to do enough to look beyond that this time...
KinectSEN - Using Kinect in Special Schools for Pupils with Severe Learning Difficulties
This is a guide for starting to use Kinect programs as a tool for sensory interaction and engagement with pupils with special educational needs (SEN), especially severe learning difficulties (SLD). It is hopefully practical and easy to use. You do need some basic knowledge of computers to get going and a little perserverance but it will be worth it though, below are about 5 programs you can try in school with minimal fuss!
This information is teacher created and all of the programs can be accessed for free. All of the programs have also been tried out and used in lessons in special needs schools with pupils with SEN and SLD, typically P4 level to NC1.
Updated 26th September 2012 with the excellent Kinect Flow and Physics from Amnon Owed and another kinect-ed Processing sketch.
This is the beginnings of a Professional Learning Community (PLC) involving special needs schools. There is talk of a 'Kinectogether' event with the Somantics team, a whole host of teachers, programmers and other agencies and businesses to give everything a good kick start.
I got a bit fed up of waiting for SEN companies to develop Kinect programs so I tried out a few things, got involved in the Somantics project and tried out programs that digital artists had created and put online for free with pupils in a special needs school setting. The results with the pupils have been very positive
I hope more special schools start to use the kinect very soon. Like most things these kinect sessions take time to prepare for, and set up but then they evolve and develop and the benefits start to appear. With a little bit of space and a small outlay in money an interactive area can be set up to try to engage our pupils and help their interactions, creativity and movement. Different sessions and different programs produce different responses and these responses also evolve over time. Some pupils love it and take to it straight away, others need some encouragement and patience, others aren't bothered with it at all, but in my experience that is true of everything! What is important is that these kinect programs have no real parallel in our schools, they use movement to create visuals and sound without needing the pupils to use equipment or to learn any specific skills first. They are natural and intuative.
The technical issues are often difficult to overcome, although with new technology it's to be expected!
It is hard for people who do not understand the complex needs of our pupils to understand the significance of enabling and motivating some of our pupils to interact meaningfully with anything in their environment. The more enabling technologies we use the more chance we have of finding something that will increase motivation, creativity, interaction and movement when other traditional methods have failed. The Kinect is not replacing these other methods but adding a whole new level of opportunity to the tools at our disposal. I am certain that given the resourcefulness and inventiveness of the special needs teaching community worldwide and the support of the business and technical community that these opportunities will multiply and flourish.
Project Information URL: http://kinectsen.wikispaces.com/