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Star Trek classroom  (Source: Eurekalert)
Star Trek classroom helps kids learn math

Researchers have been hard at work designing and testing a so-called “Star Trek” classroom. The project, whose official name is SynergyNet, has spanned three years and over 400 students between 8 and 10 years of age have participated in the experiments. The researchers have found that multi-touch, multi-user desks are able to boost mathematics skills in children.

Using the multi-touch desks students were able to work together in new ways to solve unanswered questions and problems using new innovative solutions. The researchers say that by seeing what other students were doing and being able to test great group activities, new learning ideas were formed. The researchers believe the SynergyNet classroom could also help encourage learning and other subjects as well.

The team reports that 45% of the students who use the NumberNet functions increased the number of unique mathematical expressions they created after using the system compared to 16% of students when using traditional paper-based activities.

The multi-touch desks used in the project are network and linked to a main smartboard. The system allows the multi-touch desks to be both screens and keyboards allowing several students to use the desk at anyone time.

The researchers acknowledge that this high-tech classroom is a long way off from being used regularly in schools around the world. The obvious reasons cited are set up costs and the level of support needed to keep the systems functioning.
 
The research team does state, however, that over the last three years major improvements in the technology and a reduction in costs has been realized.

Source: Eurekalert



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just costs?
By TSS on 11/23/2012 12:57:02 PM , Rating: -1
I think there's plenty of other reasons why this won't happen in the real world. Like a class of only 16 kids, that's never gonna happen.

Nor are they going to be well behaved. Just look at the photo, the kid way to the right. The teacher is explaining something so why is he messing with the table? Because he's a kid, because he can.

I've grown up and seen school both before the digital age and after the digital age. And all i see digital stuff being is a distraction. Kids don't focus on stuff they don't like and if you give them anything else to focus on, like a moving square, they will instantly focus on that and ignore you.

Learning should not be fun, because it isn't. If it's fun you focus on the fun, not the learning.




RE: just costs?
By deksman2 on 11/23/2012 7:02:43 PM , Rating: 5
My apologies for saying this, but I don't think you have the correct information.

Humans don't learn things well they have no interest in.
As for 'learning should not be fun'... wrong on so many levels its not even funny.
Most of the things Humans take interest in and develop a real affinity for is BECAUSE its fun for us to do and therefore we actually ENJOY doing it.

Regarding kids not focusing...
That's just a byproduct of a bad environmental influence and/or parenting.

Why make things worse and tedious by sucking out the 'fun' factor out of learning when science itself demonstrated that its one of the most efficient ways of learning?

Education in its current form (industrialized) that doesn't prompt people to think, nor is it engaging or encourage problem solving is exactly the problem.
The system we have now is good for training people to work on jobs and following orders (a waste of time and effort because we have long surpassed the necessary level to automate practically the entire global workforce and eliminate the need for 'human labor' in the first place).

Gamification of life is one of the better ways of encouraging learning as opposed to how its done now.

As for the article... I do agree its technologically relatively outdated, but so is everything else in Capitalism (by about 60 to 100 years compared to our scientific knowledge)... however, it is 'cost efficient' or 'affordable' from a monetary view.


RE: just costs?
By ritualm on 11/24/2012 3:30:09 PM , Rating: 2
The best part about the current learning process is that you are forced to write off everything you have learned in the past 15-20 years the moment you start working on your first full-time job. That's 15-20 years wasted on something just slightly less monotonous than the assembly-line work at Ford Motor Company circa 1920.

If learning and fun cannot coexist at the same time, I'd rather procrastinate and play Black Ops 2 online instead of reading how Hamlet killed the King of Denmark. Seriously.


RE: just costs?
By drycrust3 on 11/24/2012 8:26:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Like a class of only 16 kids, that's never gonna happen. Nor are they going to be well behaved.

I remember seeing some new idea for teaching maths on TV, and saying to those around me that it wasn't any good because they were only teaching the bright sparks. Bright sparks don't need computers and what not, they will learn with anything, even the "olde fashioned log book" style stuff.
If this project uses bright sparks to test it, what do they expect? Every student to pass with flying colours? Of course! And what's the worst that could happen? Every student would pass with flying colours! This is like road testing a car on a straight smooth level road: you won't learn much.


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