Aug 14, 2009

Tom Barrett, a teacher, demonstrates Durham University's SynergyNet Multi-touch Networked Tables

"It is about how children can work together and communicate and how the multi-touch technology can facilitate this."

In this video, Tom Barrett demonstrates multi-touch networked tables, which were designed to be part of an immersive classroom environment. The multi-touch tables are the result of a collaboration between the Technology Enhanced Learning research group at Durham University and colleagues from the Education and Psychology departments.

Tom is a teacher and edublogger. Like me, he has a passion for multi-touch technology.
He has been fortunate to have the chance to work with a SMARTTable in his classroom, and also compare the SMARTTable experience with the tables at Durham University, which were not from SMART Technologies.

Tom was one of the first teachers to have the opportunity to try out the SMART Table in his classroom
. He was a bit disappointed with the outcome. Even so, he believes that multi-touch technology will be important in education in the future.

From Tom's point of view, there is a need to have more in-depth content for the SMART Table, even at the earlier grades. The following quotes are taken from Tom's "SMART Table in my Classroom- My Conclusions" blog post:

"In my opinion there are three things that contribute to this: poor content; poor creation software and a straight jacketed approach to multi-touch functionality...There seems to be too much residual SMART Notebook thinking and not enough innovative software design. Maybe the product has preceded the necessary thinking behind it all."

"The one shining ray of light that emerges from amidst this all is the Media application. I have posted videos of some of my children working with this program in the past. It remains the only application that offers teachers and children an open environment to learn, and couples it with a unique interface with media. When you use this application you actually feel like you are using something innovative, multi-touch, gestural driven. As a teacher there is the capacity to use rich content of your choice (video) and then layer on top questions that engage the children in a much deeper way"


Flickr Group: Multi-touch Interactive Desk: Applications and Gesture Ideas

(Note: I have plenty of ideas for content and software design for multi-touch tables in education, and also cognitive and educational assessment.
I'm only missing a table or two!)

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