Microsoft has introduced Kinect to primary classrooms in South Africa to encourage children to use English at school. The classrooms have been equipped with Kinect cameras and Xbox consoles and teachers have been trained in how to best use these to the advantage of the young learners.
Kinect introduced to South African primary classrooms
Microsoft is piloting a teaching programme in a school in Vryheid, South Africa. The programme involves 8 teachers who have been trained in using Xbox and Kinect and who will teach children the English language through lesson activities that involve English-based games.
Peter de Lisle, who was involved in developing the teacher training materials and selecting the games to be used, talks about challenges of teaching English in South African primary schools:
In South Africa’s rural primary schools, the chances are good that a learner’s home language is not English, but rather one of the 10 other official languages.
But in many schools, English is the language of learning from as early as Grade 1. The huge challenge is to create learning experiences which help to bridge this gap, rather than exacerbate it. The teachers saw the promise of Kinect’s English-based games – involving the hesitant young learners in trying the new language, through active involvement in play.
Karen Kirsten, Lakeside Park Primary Deputy Principal, is already seeing the benefits of this programme:
Shy learners, who take months to speak up in class in their mother tongue – let alone in English, were already shouting out to classmates to ‘jump’ and ‘duck’ with no inhibition.
I do believe there’s potential for teaching English in a fun way using Kinect, but there needs to be more than the current Kinect games as they only offer a limited learning experience.
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