My reflections on using Kinectimals and the X Box Kinect in Foundation 2 was originally published on Tom Barrett’s blog, but I thought I would publish it to my own blog now that it’s up and running. Be sure to check out the discussions about this post of Tom Barrett’s blog though. I have added a few extra points in this post though and included some extra footage. Enjoy.
If you haven’t come across Kinectimals or the X Box Kinect before, then have a look at the official trailer for the game here. Gameplay works without a controller, there is a camera attached to the X Box which detects your movements and the animals in the game respond to them.
My blog follows on neatly from the themes discussed by Tom Barrett in his work with Nintendo Wii’s Endless Ocean. I took on the challenge of introducing Games Based Learning to my Reception class, and to myself! I used an X Box Kinect because game play without a controller seemed ideal for Foundation Stage children. After a 2 – 3 week project on animal homes using Kinectimals as a stimulus, I have reflected on the impact that Games Based Learning had on children’s enquiry. My reflection is structured around four themes; organisation, planning, supported play and Kinect sensitivity. I hope that the successes, difficulties and solutions I found help with any Games Based Learning planning in your classroom.
Supporting Children’s Play
- Back in the classroom, children would recreate game play through their child initiated play.
- They made the water tray a rock pool home
- They fed our Tigger teddy or lion puppet carrots and water – as that is what their Kinectimal ate in the game.
- Children used the resources from the group time in their own activities
- Writing became incidental; they wanted to write ideas down from the game to share in the classroom
- The camera was sensitive enough to recognise large scale movements the same as small scale movements – any sized kick or throw would give the same response in the game
- But the camera isn’t sensitive enough to prevent adults from intervening.
- If a child was struggling to play the game, I could crouch behind them and either move their arms for them or use my hands to model the actions required
- Transition between players was mostly seamless. Players can step in and out of the cameras viewpoint and the X Box would continue the activity that was being played.
- There is also a swap player function during game play, but we never had to use this.
Games Based Learning isn’t about playing on the game every day, for long periods of time. I’ve realised that the game is used to inspire children’s interest and is a great format to let children take control of planning and learning. As game play doesn’t occur at the pace I played it, I had to be much more open with my planning and support learning through children’s interests. I have learned so much about my teaching and children’s learning through games.