Before I get started I must express my sincere thanks and appreciation to a number of groups and individuals who have contributed their time, efforts and interest this past week.
- Mike Sutherland and the entire LEAP Motion team - providers of this fantastic piece of technology
- Yanko and the team at Devoid - for letting me explore the uses of Octorhythm at Jackson School
- Matt Stec and the team at DuckieDeck - for letting me trial the hippo brushing game. Our kinders love it!
- Richard and the FlowStudio team - for making the most excellent game, SORTEE
- Lynn Marentette - it's great to be networking with you about LEAP in special education
It has been absolutely wonderful going to work every day with something new to trial with my students. The excitement is overwhelming and this has only been the first week!
First, let's look at the context it has been tested in.
- ~100 students, ages 6-16 have used it first hand
- Students have various disabilities e.g. Autism (range of functional levels), developmental delays, ADD/ADHD, verbal impairments and others
- Apps tested with LEAP were Google Earth, LEAPdj, LEAPflying, DuckieDeck, OctoRhythm and Sortee (yet to be tested).
As discussed in my first post about LEAP, there was a lot of excitement from students when playing with Google Earth. This was definitely a good base application to test and one that all students could readily interact with and achieve a positive result. I must note that some students ultimately found it too daunting and weren't confident enough to try it. This is possibly because they weren't comfortable being the sole demonstrator in front of their peers.
Another popular app we tested was the LEAPflying app. Although graphically simple, it provided a different insight into the use of the LEAP - using two hands to gesture commands. This was very popular with younger boys especially since it reminded them of LEGO and Minecraft. Some found it frustrating when a building would get in the way of their vision, thus making it difficult to know what sort of gesture to make. It was quite funny watching boys' imaginations run away with them and despite the lack of sound effects, they'd come up with their own. I think if there was a gesture to shoot laser-beams we'd be on to a winner with this one.
After a couple of quick emails, Matt sent me a build of the game and we were on our way. What I really liked about this game was that it removed the 'depth' aspect of the LEAP, something that was very daunting for some students in apps like Google Earth and didn't quite make sense to their well trained 'iPad fingers'. I think there's tremendous potential with apps like this and I hope there are more developers out there investing their time into creating engaging and educational games for younger ones.
What I really liked about Octorhythm is the hand-eye coordination that's involved. It makes me wonder if people who are learning to sign due to a verbal or hearing impairment could have an app where they have to copy the symbol that's linked to the expression which is part of a sentence. Does that make sense?
Thanks for reading!