Game-based learning and Kinect - Jumpido

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Children perceive and remember information emotionally. When kids experience positive emotions, they are more engaged in the learning process and retain information longer. Furthermore, positive emotions are associated with fun. Teachers can transform anything that is fun for children in games. Thus lecturers can establish objectives and game rules to be used in the classroom. Games make students active participants in the learning process, while the pursuit of victory motivates the pupils to know and learn more.

Technology changes dramatically the educational process. Years ago, teachers had to spend considerably more time and efforts to organize games which would appeal to the youngsters. Nowadays, educators are increasingly taking advantage of new technologies to create games. For example, teachers can use PowerPoint to create games similar to "Mathematical rally" or "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire". My goal as a teacher is to make students participate actively in the learning process and to motivate them to study and retain the covered material. That is why I constantly look for new tools to achieve this goal.

Last year I discovered Jumpido – a new educational software for primary school students. Jumpido is a series of games where students solve math problems through physical exercises. Body movements are captured by a Kinect sensor and shown on a screen through a projector. What I find particularly valuable in the software is that it has both competitive and collaborative modes. For example, in some games children have to work together to reach a common goal while in others they should outperform their friends. An interesting feature of Jumpido is that the math content is adaptive – if a student answers a question correctly, then the next question will be harder and vice versa. That makes the games suitable for children with different levels of math skills.

As I mentioned in the beginning, children are more engaged when they experience positive emotions. This is one of the main reasons why game-based learning is so useful and will have an increasing role in the future.

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