The last two days at Jackson School have been extremely exciting to say the least. After the surprise arrival of a LEAP Motion developer kit early yesterday morning, it was time to get head down into what this device could mean for kids with disabilities and special education in general. I must add that I had a certain childish jig as I paraded back down the hallways of Jackson School with my express package from FEDEX.
Things really couldn't be simpler. It's a straightforward USB device and the software that's been made available for developers is concise, reliable and functional.
After a short update I decided to go straight into testing out Google Earth with the LEAP.
Google Earth is already an exceptional tool in education and I was so overjoyed with the initial experience that I interrupted a colleague's class and had her bring the class over to the LEAP.
Here's a short highlight of their experience below. My favourite part is at about 35 seconds in.
After a thorough day's testing, I took the LEAP home with me to add on some other programs and have a bit of a play on my own. My wife was also very keen to try it out. I found that after about 15 minutes of practice, Google Earth became very natural to use and also very efficient to work with in all dimensions.
As well as Google Earth, I installed the LEAP created Flight Sim and DJ apps. They're both great proof of concept apps that were easy to adapt to and showed the ways you can use gestures to achieve different results very well.
Tuesdays are a very busy day for me, with classes running all day and across various age groups. This was the perfect testing ground to see how younger students could handle adapting to the LEAP.
As you will see in the video below, I tested Google Earth and the LEAP Flight Sim app with students aged 7-16.
I avoided using the LEAP DJ app because it was a bit too fidddly and although it was a great proof of concept, it was ultimately too cluttered and difficult to control. Throw cluttered, difficult and fiddly at a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder and be ready to deal with consequences.
I was really impressed to see how quick students of all ages adapted to the two test apps. Their enthusiasm was contagious and there was a lot of discussion about where to visit and fly to. Most gestures came quite naturally to them and they were able to function within the app's boundaries without issue.
Check out the video below for a bit of an insight into day two of testing.
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