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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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