I’ve previously talked about my excitement over games-based learning and natural user interface, and how increasingly Microsoft has invested in exploring how these areas can make a difference in education.

Since its release, there has been tremendous enthusiasm and fascination about Kinect as not only a tool to help navigation and interaction, but to help students to get even more engaged in learning. The video below is a great example of a project in South Africa to show how Kinect is making a difference in getting students more excited about their learning environment, and helping students at different places in their learning styles get engaged in the classroom…and actually get more excited about schoolwork.

There's also been a fascination about using Kinect to control environments. A powerful example is the evolution of the universe via Kinect and the navigation across the universe with Kinect.  The marriage between Microsoft's efforts and amazing work with WorldWide Telescope and Kinect is perfectly demonstrated in this video where the power of the Kinect sensor can actually allow you to navigate planets and stars, and literally swim across the universe.

The launch of the Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) is just going to be the beginning for what should be an exciting time for Kinect, as well as natural user interface. Universities, developers, researchers are excited about the potential Kinect will bring to create more interactive classroom environments, to create more learning style environments that will help students with disabilities, students with autism get more engaged with learning, as well as potential for much more interactive navigation tools, taking on what has been done with smart boards to get students involved in the classroom. During a 24-hour code camp for the SDK beta launch, teams of university students and researchers built amazing applications.

The power of Kinect is just waiting for ideas and exploration.  It will be interesting to see what happens going forward.