In the new version of Schlaumäuse (smart mice) from Helliwood media & education 4- to 7-year-olds discover and experience speech in a holistic and playful way, with their whole bodies.
With Microsoft’s Kinect Controller, computer remote control via bodily movement will allow children to work through the three following exercises:
- exercise 1: spelling words
- exercise 2: writing letters
- exercise 3: listening and reacting
In the game idea behind exercise 1, children play with elements out of the world that they know by moving letters with drag and drop into the right place to spell words. (e.g. they have to move the letters “A – M – S – U” to form the solution “MAUS” (mouse)). All the while they hear phonemes for the word that will help them to form the solution word. On top of that, pre-schoolers walk in place to build up an energy bar, which has been depleted when they make errors or run out of time. As soon as they have formed the word correctly with experimentation and combining the letters in the right order with trial and error, they are rewarded by the “Schlaumäuse”. This learning scenario aims primarily at improving the phonetic perception in that sounds are consciously heard and letters are combined to form words with meaning.
In the 2nd exercise girls and boys learn an elementary cultural technique: writing block letters, by following the movement in tandem with a brush that writes the letter on screen. Pre-schoolers become conscious that there is a specific form for each block letter. They will benefit with aid in learning the letters of the alphabet.
The 4- to 7-year-olds will learn according to the interactive principle of “listening and reacting” in exercise 3, by following directions (e.g. to move an object from the top-hand right to the left side). After listening to auditory stimulus and reacting with trial and error, children receive positive feedback from the “Schlaumäuse” with each correct action. In this learning scenario, children primarily practice their ability to understand oral speech in a typical setting.
The “Schlaumäuse” are there for children as “friends and helpers” who give positive feedback.
This module is programmed with the Kinect for Windows SDK (v1.0 Beta2) and XNA Game Studio 4.0 for Windows 7 platforms.