Hi Everyone,

I'm not a teacher by trade (my wife is) but I am a software developer. I've just ordered a Microsoft Surface computer (a large multi-touch computer the shape of a coffee table) and I intend to develop applications for home schooling my children (we've been home schooling for about a year).

If anyone is interested in discussing education applications for Microsoft Surface (http://www.surface.com) I'm all ears!

Tags: computer, surface

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I have the vision of incorporating surface computing on a wider scale in my classroom, where each student's desk is a surface computer. This would essentially evolve into a collaborative, paperless classroom.

Currently, technology in the classroom is limited to what is quickly being called traditional--the windows desktop computers, the occasional laptop on a desk (rarely is it ever mobile), and overhead projectors. The evolution of cell phones, iPods, social networking (facebook, youtube, etc.) are essentially OFF LIMITS as dictated by administration at various levels, even to the point of filtering valuable resources from the students out of fear.

I would like to see your vision of which existing and new applications that you would like to use for schooling in general. I have a dream for which applications (most of which I have not seen used effectively) I would like to have available on the surface computers.

Good luck with this. I would love to entertain your fancy with this and throw my ideas off an experienced soundboard.
Smart-Technologies ... maker of the classroom smartboard make a "multi-touch classroom table" much like the surface - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_FRmYXtneQ
and
http://www2.smarttech.com/st/en-US/Products/SMART+Table/
I would love to see Edusim ported to the MS surface however - http://edusim3d.com with Wikipedia details here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edusim

For those willing to take it on as a developent project. :)
The SmartTable is a bit to elementary and the resolution is to basic for what I envision.

I have been playing around quite a bit lately with the Apple iPhone and iPod touch. I would like to see a table version of the Apple products available in the classroom.

With the existing platform, the infrared tracking is vital; however, I would like to see some sort of IR pen available for the table version and the ability to change the sensitivity of these infrared sensors so as to desensitize or disable the finger sensitivity in lieu of a IR stylus.
Its all moving to an interactive surface & ubiquitous computing eventually ... Unfortunately Im sure schools will be the back end of the adoption curve as the movement evolves from the phone to everything else - Love the new MS video on the matter - http://roots.greenbush.us/?p=715

And for those looking WAY out this is interesting as well with regard to the evolution of the interactive surface- http://roots.greenbush.us/?p=714
Me and my colleague have built similar kind of multitouch surface computer and we have decided to expand the project to include the whole classroom. We are making the walls interactive (with few projectors, lightpen and Nintendo Wii remotes) so the whole roomspace can be taken advanced in education.
But the question rises, what to do with it? What are the educational uses of our ubiquitous classroom you might think of?
A Virtual "Immersive Touch" Museum or Natural History !
I'd be interested in learning more about your "whole classroom" project. I think there are plenty of uses for this technology. If your screens and surfaces are linked to the Internet, then the students can collaboratively browse and explore for information.

You could design web-quests for the students. Divide the students up into small groups, each on a mission, and let them could use a designated surface or set of surfaces to explore the topic. They could then create interactive presentations that they could make available to the other students on the same surfaces and tables.

Do the students have access to cameras, video cameras, and webcams? If so, the class could hook up with another class, at least one that has an interactive whiteboard and access to digital cameras, etc. and do some collaborative sharing once their projects are completed.

You could do lots with art and music, too.
Thanks guys for the ideas!

And yes, the whole room is made accessible via internetbrowser and via Secondlife. The table and surcfaces can also be manipulated via internet. And when we get the 3D scanner, the room can be projected in SL too. Thus blurring the borders of realities;).

We are also trying to find a way to be present more visibly by a fogscreen projection, so the person accesing the room via internet and webcam, can appear in a room as a kind of hologram.

The idea is to increase the sense of presense and thus create a feeling of being together, something you don't really get with acynchronous, text based methods of communication.

So I guess we are trying to create somekind of early version holodeck.
Where is this classroom? I took a class about VR and always thought it would be fun to have something like this set up in a school media center.
A major roadblock to all of this is the simple truth that teachers today are not trained adequately to incorporate technology into the classroom. We have loads of techie teachers and lots of gizmos and gadgets, but the core curriculum that we are required to teach is relatively the same.

HOW DO WE USE WHAT WE HAVE? It would be a lot of fun to have all of the fancy toys in the classroom, but other than a demonstration here or a test review there, can we incorporate these gadgets to make our teaching more productive and time efficient? Or, are we asking for it when it doesn't work and we spend more time maintaining the system than using it. Are we better off with pencil and paper?
Hi, Richard!

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