Microsoft, Sesame Street, and National Geographic Show Us the Next Frontier of Television and Educational Content

There are times when I get a press release that I know I should share immediately, but I’m just not sure how to capture the impact of the story. Last week was one of those times. In short, Kinect for Xbox 360 announced a ground-breaking partnership with National Geographic and Sesame Street. The two iconic television shows will work with Microsoft to present “Kinect Nat Geo TV” and “Kinect Sesame Street TV,” two interactive television series aimed at engaging kids, mind and body, in learning.

TV shows for young kids have been attempting to bring in an interactive element for quite some time now. A character asks kids a question, waits for a response, and then respond affirmatively. They instruct kids to stand up and stretch or dance, and respond as if kids are following directions. But with the use of the Kinect sensor, the programs will actually be able to tell if kids are responding and react accordingly. In some cases, kids will even see themselves in the same scenes as their favorite Muppet characters. It doesn’t stop there, of course. This is just the first step in a process that may turn education we know it on its head.

As someone who has a degree in Technology in Education, and who is passionate about both subjects separately, I’m amazed/thrilled/awed by the potential this provides. I’ve seen first-hand how my kids learn quickly through the use of technology and the interaction with the material they are exploring. I believe in gaming as a learning platform because it can provide individualized, real-time feedback, but also because it’s motivating and fun. There is no reason that learning can’t be fun.

Alex Games (seriously) from Microsoft Studios wrote a great blog post about the philosophy behind the project as well as some of the upcoming titles. Also, here’s a video from Microsoft talking about the project and showing some of it in action:

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