Shining a Little Light on the Subject

Kingwood CLC in Hammersmith and Fulham have once again sparked our interest this week, this time it’s due to their partnership with OM Interactive to develop the iSpace, a room dedicated to learning through sensory enhancement and interaction with technology. Let it not be said that educational toys haven’t played an intricate part of every child’s upbringing.  Whether it was the one-two-three simplicity of an abacus, or the limitless potential for creativity of an Etch a Sketch, toys have always been a sneaky way of getting kids to have fun while they learn.  Over the years, the toys inevitably have changed, but children’s specific educational needs have dictated the direction in which this progression has occurred, and with the eventual incorporation of technology, the results have been phenomenal.

The iSpace at Kingwood CLC for instance is a room made up of different areas that encourage children to use their imaginations and creativity, develop their reflexes, interact with each other, and to have fun.  Katherine Douglas, director of the Kingwood CLC, is excited about the potential of the room, and how they can develop new ways of using it.

“Our intention was to create a room that could be accessed by everyone we work with, from early years and primary to the 14-19. It’s an agile space; for example, we can have music workshops, film screenings, etc.  The technology is not intrusive- you can just use the bits you need.  The point is to challenge new practice for ourselves as well as those we work with.  It’s part of what we do – developing projects to enhance and develop the work we do with schools.”

The room itself is divided into separate areas using OM Interactive LED Colourwash Lighting System, which illuminates each area a different colour.

The first element of the room is the *Omi-Reflex, which is a vertical surface interactive projection system.  Images are projected onto the wall and a camera captures live images and streams them into a background layer and users see themselves on the screen.  Any movement in front of the image will produce changes to the displayed graphics.  So basically if the projected image of you is standing under a tree, lifting your arm would disturb the leaves.

The second element is the *Omi-Vista, which is a floor based gesture controlled interactive projection system that responds to movement – any movement on the surface of the projection will prompt a dynamically proportionate response from the system, as if kicking a projected ball on the floor will move the ball across the projected field.

The third element is the *Omi-Beam, which is an interactive lighting system that plays music and triggers visuals when users break beams of light.  The system can be used for performance, storytelling, inclusive music-making and more.

On Tuesday the 3rd of November, the CLC held an official launch for their iSpace, and it was no surprise that there was a great turn-out and a positive response.  Grown-ups will find any excuse to release their inner child, even if they are envious that the times have moved beyond building blocks and play-doh to captivate children’s educational imagination.

*Description extracts from iSpace brochure

For more information about using interactive projection systems in schools or to discuss ways in which you might like to explore the use of iSpace with staff and pupils, please contact the Kingwood CLC by email on info@kingwoodclc.net, or call 020 7386 5428.

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