Mastering Math with Your Body by Using Kinect for Windows

Here is new research to challenge the notion that video games have to be mindless and sedentary.

A new study reveals how students can learn geometry through movement using the Kinect for Windows.

 

“Carmen Petrick Smith, assistant professor of mathematics education (second from left), works with undergraduate education majors on movements that are used to help elementary school children learn geometry (credit: Andy Duback)

University of Vermont assistant professor of mathematics education Carmen Petrick Smith has found in a study that elementary school students who interacted with a Kinect for Windows mathematics program while learning geometry showed significant gains in the understanding of angles and angle measurements…

Smith and her research team engaged 30 third- and fourth-grade students in a series of tasks that involved moving their arms to form angles projected on a large Kinect screen.

The screen changed colors when the students’ arms formed acute, right, obtuse and straight angles. A protractor helped students measure and refine their movements. Students were asked to figure out the hidden rules that made each of the four colors appear on the screen.”

– from http://www.kurzweilai.net/mastering-math-through-movement-using-kinect-for-windows

References:

  • Carmen Petrick Smith, Barbara King, Jennifer Hoyte. Learning angles through movement: Critical actions for developing understanding in an embodied activity. The Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 2014; 36: 95 DOI: 10.1016/j.jmathb.2014.09.001

Learning angles through movement:

Critical actions for developing understanding in an embodied activity

“Highlights:

Pre- and post-tests showed gains in understanding of angle and angle measurement.

Connections between physical and abstract representations can support learning.

Exploring a variety of physical representations is associated with learning.

Connections between movements and personal experiences can support learning.


Abstract

Angle instruction often begins with familiar, real-world examples of angles, but the transition to more abstract ideas can be challenging. In this study, we examine 20 third and fourth grade students completing a body-based angle task in a motion-controlled learning environment using the Kinect for Windows. We present overall pre- and post-test results, showing that the task enhanced learners’ developing ideas about angles, and we describe two case studies of individual students, looking in detail at the role the body plays in the learning process. We found that the development of a strong connection between the body and the abstract representation of angle was instrumental to learning, as was exploring the space and making connections to personal experiences. The implications of these findings for developing body-based tasks are discussed.

Keywords

  • Learning;
  • Geometry;
  • Embodied cognition;
  • Elementary;
  • Motion-controlled technology”

– From http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0732312314000522

Faculty Biography | Carmen Petrick Smith

Carmen Petrick Smith

Carmen Petrick Smith, Ph.D.

Contact Information:
Waterman 405
(802) 656-1307
Carmen.Smith@uvm.edu

Carmen Petrick Smith is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Vermont. She received her Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from the University of Texas at Austin where she studied the effects of embodied actions on learning geometry. Her research interests center on embodied cognition, games for learning, and STEM education. She is also a former high school mathematics teacher, and in addition to her work in education, she can solve a Rubik’s cube, is a former Guinness World Record holder for dancing the Thriller, and won the 2008 O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships.

About Gaming and Education

Through my research, I have found that games are a powerful tool for learning for players of all ages. Last year I earned my doctorate in Educational Leadership at Azusa Pacific University. My dissertation was entitled - Higher Order Thinking Skills in Digital Games. I have presented my research at the annual convention of the California Educational Research Association. In addition to teaching, I assist other researchers who are working in the field of games and Learning.

Posted on January 28, 2015, in Research on Games, STEM Games and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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