Kinect and Game/Gesture-based Learning: Interview with Johnny Kissko

Interview 16 of Education Voices

This week I had time to catch up with Johnny Kissko (@JohnnyEducation) on Skype. Johnny is a math teacher in Lubbock who is passionate about the potential of various technologies integrated effectively into the curriculum. What do we mean by effectively? In his interview, you will discover that he envisions and develops online communities where technology specialists, students, and educators can collaborate. He has developed the K12 Mobile Learning website. However, in this interview we talk about his most recent community, KinectEducation, that gathers developers, students, and teachers to collaborate on integrating the Kinect software into the curriculum. Kinect allows the user to use gestures to control any PC. The MAC software is also available but still developing. This means that students would be able to move while they learn. In most schools, students sit in uncomfortable desks for hours which is not healthy. Therefore, I was super excited to be able to discuss the possibilities of gesture-based learning and game-based learning with Johnny!

Bio

Johnny Kissko is currently a secondary math educator; his background and experience within the IT sector has afforded him the ability to assist school districts, individuals and education-affiliated companies effectively integrate technology into K12 curricula.  He was recently selected as 1 of 76 Apple Distinguished Educators and is Google Apps for Education Individually Qualified.  In addition to KinectEDucation, Johnny also owns and maintains K12 Mobile Learning, a website devoted to providing mobile learning tools and resources for education stakeholders.

His primary objective with KinectEDucation is to engage and develop learners with free access to Kinect applications along with a community of like-minded educators, developers, and students.  Find Johnny on Twitter, @johnnyeducation.

Stay up-to-date on Kinect in education by registering and becoming active in the KinectEDucation community.  Additionally, you can follow the Twitter hashtags #glearning and #kinectedu for instant access to discussion related to gesture-based learning in education.

Previous Interviews

Check out the previous interviews Twittering for Education- Jo and Phil Hart, Twittering for Education- Eric and Melissa Sheninger, Twittering for Education- Will and Elle Deyamport, Connected Principals- George Couros, 1:1 Programs- Rich Kiker, Mobile Learning with Kids- Scott Newcomb, Effective Leadership: Interview with Patrick Larkin, Using Skype for ELT Lessons: Interview with Marisa Pavan, Teachers as Leaders and Continuous Learners: Interview with Dr. Doug Green, Blogging with Students: Interview with Greta Sandler, What Does the Innovative School Look Like? Interview with Dr. Tom King, How Do We Animate Lessons? Interview with Ken Wilson, Building the Twitter Academy: Interview with Kelly Tenkely, Leading by Example and Teacher Evaluations: Interview with Akevy Greenblatt, and A Student’s Voice about Technology and Learning: Interview with Shantanu Bala.

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Leading by Example & Teacher Evaluations: Interview with Akevy Greenblatt

Interview 14 of Twittering for Education

In the move for education transformation we need effective leadership. This means that administrators have to take the first step in showing teachers the path to transparency and effective instructional practice. Principal Akevy Greenblatt is one such leader who I had the pleasure of interviewing this past week. He talked about how he leads through video recording his classroom lessons and allowing his teachers to evaluate his classroom instruction. He also balances being a principal with teaching a class. He feels being in the classroom gives him insight and a unique connection to his teachers. They know he is in the trenches alongside them.

Bio

Rabbi Akevy Greenblatt is currently the Judaic Studies Lower School Principal at the Margolin Hebrew Academy in Memphis TN. Akevy is also part of the adminsitrartive team for the Margolin Hebrew Academy/ Finestone Yeshivas of the South, which is a Prek- 12 school.  Akevy has been involved education for the last 20 years and is a leading change agent in trying to incorporate 21st Century skills with Judaic studies.Meeting students needs and differentiated instruction is something that Akevy believes to be at the core of teaching and is in the process of working on a Differentiated Instruction workbook for Judaic Studies.  You can learn more about Akevy from his “Principals Post” at agreenblatt.blogspot.com and by following him on Twitter @Akevy613. You can read his posts on the Connected Principals group here!

Previous Interviews

Check out the previous interviews Twittering for Education- Jo and Phil Hart, Twittering for Education- Eric and Melissa Sheninger, Twittering for Education- Will and Elle Deyamport, Connected Principals- George Couros, 1:1 Programs- Rich Kiker, Mobile Learning with Kids- Scott Newcomb, Effective Leadership: Interview with Patrick Larkin, Using Skype for ELT Lessons: Interview with Marisa Pavan, Teachers as Leaders and Continuous Learners: Interview with Dr. Doug Green, Blogging with Students: Interview with Greta Sandler, What Does the Innovative School Look Like? Interview with Dr. Tom King, How Do We Animate Lessons? Interview with Ken Wilson, and Building the Twitter Academy: Interview with Kelly Tenkely.

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Student Perspectives on Digital Natives & Technology in Schools

Yesterday was the last #Edchat of the year and it definitely ranked as one of my favorites. During the 12pm EST/ 5pm GMT #Edchat, we discussed:

Is the idea of digital native really a myth? Do most kids today already have the skills and knowledge to master technology for learning?

We were fortunate to have students join this conversation. I would like to thank Tinashe Blanchet (@Mrsblanchetnet) and Angel Gelle Dozier (@Gellesastar) for having their students join the conversation. This was a unique opportunity to get the student perspective on the idea of the Digital Native Theory and some of their responses were quite surprising. I hope they will join us again for another #Edchat because discussions about education need to have varied perspectives from the various educational stakeholders involved.

What Do the Students Think?

As a moderator I took the opportunity of interviewing the students during the discussion to get their ideas on the use of technology in schools. These were some of the insights from the conversation:

  • The 6th graders seemed more excited about using Facebook and cellphones for learning
  • The high school students seemed to believe that these tools would be abused
  • Both groups confirmed that their parents for the most part were unhappy about the impact of technology in their lives

These insights suggest we need to educate both parents and students in the use of technology in schools. Gellesastar‘s 6th graders suggested we involve parents by having online PTA meetings so that the parents see how effective technology can be. I think teachers can be very proactive about getting parents and students to understand the benefits of using certain technologies for learning by holding parent workshops that demonstrate what technologies will be used and how, blogging about student projects, publishing student work, creating video tutorials that show parents how to use the technologies, and being transparent about how they use technology to help students learn.

Here are the responses from the high school students and 6th graders:

Students on Edchat 1Students on Edchat 2

@Gellesastar‘s 6th graders were so excited about the idea of learning through Facebook and cellphones they stood up and applauded in the classroom! They were even motivated to add more responses in a Google Doc. Here is the screenshot of that Google Doc:

6th grade responses

Challenge:

Ask your students the same questions. How do they feel about using cellphones or Facebook for learning? Do they believe they are digital natives?

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What are your thoughts about the students’ comments?

Screenshots taken from the collected conversations aggregated by Bettween.com!

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Building the Twitter Academy: Interview with Kelly Tenkely

Interview 13 of Twittering for Education

I love when I meet educators so passionate about their vision they don’t see the obstacles involved. Instead, these educators just begin building their dreams and living them. This is how education transformation occurs through action supported by passion and vision. I collaborate with these kind of educators daily now that I have been involved in online educator communities on Twitter, Facebook, and Ning groups. One of these educators is Kelly Tenkely (@ktenkely) who I had the privilege of working closely with when we organized The Reform Symposium with Chris Rogers (@MrR0g3rs). Kelly recently joined me to speak about her progress on building a collective dream of many in our PLN (Passionate Learning Network)- the Twitter Academy. In her post, When Hunches Collide, Kelly goes into details of the origins of the idea. The Twitter Academy will represent what education should be for all students. Kelly doesn’t only dream. She follows through which makes her an incredible force behind such a project!

Bio

Kelly Tenkely is a computer teacher and technology integration specialist in Colorado.  In addition to teaching and working with teachers, Kelly is a prolific blogger keeping an award winning technology integration blog, iLearn Technology, a reflection on education blog, Dreams of Education and encourages other educators to find their blogging voice with her iLearn Technology edublogger alliance. Kelly also writes regularly for The Apple and has written many of the top viewed articles including Top 10 Technology Tips for New Teachers and 10 Technology Enhanced Alternatives to Book Reports. Kelly is currently working on a project to put iPads in the hands of every student in an iPad 1 to 1 study.  Find Kelly on Twitter, @ktenkely

Keep current on the latest Twitter Academy updates by following the hashtag, #TwitAcad.

Previous Interviews

Check out the previous interviews Twittering for Education- Jo and Phil Hart, Twittering for Education- Eric and Melissa Sheninger, Twittering for Education- Will and Elle Deyamport, Connected Principals- George Couros, 1:1 Programs- Rich Kiker, Mobile Learning with Kids- Scott Newcomb, Effective Leadership: Interview with Patrick Larkin, Using Skype for ELT Lessons: Interview with Marisa Pavan, Teachers as Leaders and Continuous Learners: Interview with Dr. Doug Green, Blogging with Students: Interview with Greta Sandler, What Does the Innovative School Look Like? Interview with Dr. Tom King, and How Do We Animate Lessons? Interview with Ken Wilson .

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What do you believe is the ideal education students should be receiving?

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How Do We Animate Lessons? Interview with Ken Wilson

Interview 12 of Twittering for Education

The majority of classrooms have curricula based on coursebooks. Many teachers might feel that teaching from a coursebook kills creativity and makes learning boring especially when coupled with multiple choice tests. However, in many schools teachers are required to teach from a coursebook. A coursebook is just a tool. We can still teach fun lessons that get students applying their learning, but many of us just don’t know how. That is why I was extremely excited to speak with my special guest, Ken Wilson (@KenWilsonLondon), the author of Drama and Improvisation, which is filled with over 70 simple activities that help teachers animate their lessons. In the interview, Ken explains his background working with the English Teaching Theatre then shares some simple activities to help teachers animate their lessons. Ken also talks about the importance of integrating activities that help all students show their talents, creativity, and skills. I first met Ken on Twitter then attended his workshop at TESOL France. During the workshop, Ken had the audience of teachers be the students and become the teachers. His ideas were really helpful and the entire workshop was a lot of fun! He made gapfills become more like games and even animated the Table of Contents of coursebooks. I am super excited to participate in his upcoming workshop this weekend, 10 Things I Think I Know About Teaching.

Bio

Ken Wilson is a teacher trainer, an author of ELT materials and until 2002, an artistic director of the English Teaching Theatre. He trained to be an English teacher with John and Brita Haycraft at International House London and taught English in Seville before moving back to IH London, where he worked as a teacher and teacher trainer before going freelance. In the seventies, he wrote and recorded Mister Monday, the first-ever collection of ELT songs. Since then he’s written and recorded about 150 language teaching songs, many which you can read about and even download from his blog. He has worked as a performer, sketch-writer and eventually director with the English Teaching Theatre, a theatre company which used to tour the world performing stage-shows for learners of English. The company made more than 250 tours to 55 countries, in Europe, Latin America, Africa and the Far East. His most recent publications are Smart Choice, Just Right Advanced, Quick Smart English, Matura Masters, and Drama and Improvisation. Find him on Twitter, @KenWilsonLondon.

Previous Interviews

Check out the previous interviews Twittering for Education- Jo and Phil Hart, Twittering for Education- Eric and Melissa Sheninger, Twittering for Education- Will and Elle Deyamport, Connected Principals- George Couros, 1:1 Programs- Rich Kiker, Mobile Learning with Kids- Scott Newcomb, Effective Leadership: Interview with Patrick Larkin, Using Skype for ELT Lessons: Interview with Marisa Pavan, Teachers as Leaders and Continuous Learners: Interview with Dr. Doug Green, Blogging with Students: Interview with Greta Sandler, and What Does the Innovative School Look Like? Interview with Dr. Tom King.

Challenge:

Try one of the ideas suggested by Ken Wilson to animate your lessons!

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What are your thoughts?

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