In so many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a disaster for education. But there some ways in which the disruption it has induced has made room for new approaches—within educational systems that are resistant to change in normal times.
One of these approaches is bringing bodily movements into the learning process. Javeria Salman has a great piece in The Hechinger Report about the use of the Kinems platform by teachers and students in the Greenburgh Central School District, outside New York City.
Kinems is one of a new generation of “motion-based touchless games,” in which motion-based sensors allow players to control an avatar on the screen by moving their bodies. “Touchless,” of course, has a whole new appeal in the COVID era.
Although Kinems was available to Greenburgh teachers before now, many of them did not take advantage of it. “Sometimes it can be a sentiment of, ‘Oh not one more thing,’” said Corey Reynolds, an assistant superintendent in the district.
During COVID, teachers have increasingly made use of Kinems in classes with special-education students. “The district sees the platform as one way to help safely transition its neediest students back into the classroom while continuing to follow social distancing rules,” Salman reports.
She interviewed Symeon Retalis, the researcher who helped invent Kinems, about the benefits of movement. “When the body is active, then everything becomes more engaging, more stimulating, and children actively participate in the learning process,” said Retalis.
In some cases, it may have taken a pandemic to put that insight into action.
Here’s Salman’s article:
“A video game makes math and English classes a full-body experience”
Javiera Salman, in The Hechinger Report