One of the neatest exhibits I saw at the MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Conference this past week in Long Beach was a series of interactive learning games created by the SMALLLab group at Parsons.
They have a bunch of neat simulations and games they created to teach various science, math and engineering principals to young people, using a really clever setup. They project onto the ground a computer screen using a powerful LCD projector, which the player stands on like a giant gameboard. the player manipulates objects in the games using Wiimotes that are tracked using infrared sensors placed near the game board. In addition, a hacked Roomba robot is programmed to interact with the player and digital game board in various ways.
The video here shows Barry Joseph playing a flying simulation that I believe teaches about the scientific principals behind flight, including acceleration, lift, and vectors. Another game projects a simulation of a desert area, in which the player is challenged to dig up water in reservoirs, deliver the water to nearby households, and return reclaimed water back to the reservoirs. I had a great time playing this game with a kid, who quickly mastered the water management system.
I love the way that these games involve your whole body, enabling a different kind of understanding of natural phenomena and scientific principles. I can't wait till they have more data about the efficaciousness of these tools in teaching science and math compared to more traditional methods.