I’m delighted to feature a guest blog today from a colleague here at Moray House School of Education, called Andrew Manches. Andrew is a former teacher and now researcher with an interest in how children learn through physical interaction with objects including technology.
Developments in digital technology give us new ways to represent, manipulate, and share information. As such, we can use these developments to benefit children. One development in technology that is predicted to make a significant impact on society is Near Field Communication (NFC). NFC lets one object, or device, communicate with another simply by being in ‘near’ proximity. More familiar examples may be security tags in clothes or travel cards that you can ‘tap in’. But NFC is gradually being integrated into mobile phones – driven by the possibility of using the devices as a form of wireless payment system. It has the potential to dramatically change how we consider the relationship between our physical and digital worlds.
Enabling devices to seamless communicate information with the environment gives us new possibilities for supporting learning. Children can gather information about places and objects directly and easily- the history of a building, or the way to call an object in a foreign language. More significantly, they can be involved in creating information about objects and places – giving them voice linked to the world around them rather than lost in some virtual cyber space. They could gather and create their own information about buildings close to them, or link an object they have made to a video of them describing it. The possibilities are quite endless.
The Magic Cloud
When not researching and pontificating on things like the potential of NFC, I am the director of a small digital start up. We created a device that uses NFC, but in a slightly different set up. It is called the Magic Cloud and it lets children (and adults) link multimedia (picture, video clips, music) to a personal object. Placing the object on the Magic Cloud brings it to life on screen. Although initial marketed as a Primary Computing resource, we have had surprising interesting from the SEN sector, as the Magic Cloud gives children and their educators a novel way to communicate and be creative. Examples range from linking a symbol for ‘dancing’ with a video clip of the child dancing, to linking a favourite toy to a family photo. More information is on our site: www.plingtoys.com. If you interested in talking about how the Magic Cloud might be useful for your children / setting, please do get in touch: Andrew@plingtoys.com