Kinect for Xbox 360 Redefines Learning for Kids

Microsoft Studios has announced its plans to collaborate with Disney to innovate “playful learning” through interactive games on the Kinext for Xbox 360. In addition to this, Microsoft Studios plans on extending its impressive portfolio with the addition of a new game, code-named “Rush”. The Xbox360 will also be receiving new, exclusive, content through collaboration with Sesame Street production, in the form of an interactive television experience, as well as “Project Columbia”, an effort to change the way children learn how to read. Lastly, the Xbox360 will see contribution from Nat Geo WILD, allowing children access to bountiful National Geographic Content.

“NEW YORK, Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — What if you could learn the ABCs and 123s with Grover? What if you could explore the wonders of nature as a bear?

What if you could experience a beloved children’s book from within the story? Working closely with trusted children’s brands such as Sesame Street,
produced by Sesame Workshop, and National Geographic, featuring TV
programming from Nat Geo WILD, and leading academics and learning research
institutions, Xbox 360 today reveals how its “playful learning” experiences
revolutionize interactive television, allowing children and their families
to engage, interact and learn in an entirely new way — all through the
magic of Kinect for Xbox 360.”

Learning Through Play

Working in partnership with experts from Sesame Workshop and National
Geographic, Microsoft Corp.’s initial “playful learning” experiences
–“Kinect Sesame Street TV,” “Kinect Nat Geo TV” and code-named “Project
Columbia” — seek to inspire kids and their parents to get off the couch and
into the action, working cooperatively with their favorite characters to
have fun and learn at the same time.

“We know that the most effective learning environments for children are
those that are engaging and exciting, and that foster collaboration and a
positive attitude toward learning,” said Alex Games, Ph.D. curriculum and
learning sciences expert and educational design director for Microsoft.
“With the controller-free magic of Kinect, we can encourage kids to use
their motor skills and to learn using their body in immersive experiences.
This new way to play allows children to learn by interacting with their
favorite characters and engage with content in novel ways.”

Xbox 360 is filming a season of interactive shows in partnership with Sesame
Street production, bringing a whole new level of interactivity to
educational television with “Kinect Sesame Street TV.” With interactive
versions of shows from the current television season, new content written
and filmed just for Kinect and access to classic clips from the “Sesame
Street” archive, “Kinect Sesame Street TV” is bringing educational
television to life.

“Sesame Workshop and Microsoft are committed to producing rich engaging
content in a new media platform for children who will have positive
educational experiences,” said Rosemarie Truglio, PhD, vice president
Education and Research, Sesame Workshop. “This partnership is an opportunity
to combine the interactive platform of Kinect with Sesame Workshop’s 42
years of innovative and research-based approaches to educational content.
This new media experience allows for meaningful learning — leveraging kids’
gross motor abilities by creating exciting, gesture-based movements that
allow them to connect with our characters and content.”

“Kinect Sesame Street TV” and “Kinect Nat Geo TV” transform interactive
television, blending play and television experiences to evolve children’s
traditional watching habits and promote active and dynamic on-screen
engagements. Kids and families can jump into the action with this next
generation of TV entertainment, helping Elmo and Cookie Monster with tasks
on Sesame Street and exploring the natural world with Nat Geo WILD TV shows
— using full-body and voice recognition.

“Nat Geo WILD is an ideal partner for Kinect, turning passive television
viewing into a creative, immersive experience where kids and families can
actually interact with our unique content,” said Brad Dancer, senior vice
president of Digital Media and Research, National Geographic Channels. “By
partnering the stories, images and information from Nat Geo WILD with the
Kinect platform, we are pushing the boundaries of traditional television and
gaming to help inspire and train the next generation of explorers.”

Code-named “Project Columbia,” another experience being designed in
collaboration with the Sesame Workshop Curriculum Team, encourages a love
for books and changes the way children read. This new portal allows children
to play an active role in bringing stories to life — interacting with words
and illustrations and immersing themselves in the story. By using the
multisensory and active nature of Kinect, the power of play can help
emphasize understanding and the meaning of what is written, not just decode
it. With titles such as “Project Columbia,” Xbox 360 is just beginning to
scratch the surface of what is possible.

In partnership with the New York University-based Games for Learning
Institute , a joint research endeavor bringing together game designers,
computer scientists and education researchers committed to pursuing the art
and science of educational games, Xbox 360 will maximize the learning value
of its “playful learning” experiences for children and families. Applying
education theory and research-based models of learning, Games for Learning
Institute researchers examine the intersection between Kinect play and
children’s learning. These studies and collaborations with experts will
determine the best ways in which Kinect experiences can be optimized to
create content that is both fun and academically enriching.

Games for the Whole Family

Microsoft Studios today also shared plans to work with Disney to continue
bringing the worlds of Disney-Pixar to life through Kinect, building upon
its growing, award-winning portfolio of family games. Following the debut of
“Kinect: Disneyland Adventures” this November, Microsoft today announced
code-named “Rush,” which arrives in spring 2012. “Rush” will invite
children, their parents and fans of all ages to experience the worlds of
beloved Disney-Pixar movies like never before. Using Kinect, kids can scan
themselves into five Pixar worlds to team up with their favorite characters
from “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “Up,” “Toy Story 3” and “Cars 2” in a
race against time to solve exciting challenges.

“Creating amazing games is part of Microsoft Studios’ DNA, and with Kinect,
we have the power to transform these experiences beyond what was thought
possible,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios.
“By joining forces with iconic brands such as Disney and Pixar, Kinect and
Xbox 360 can bring families together more than ever.”

Created by famed developer Tim Shafer and Double Fine Productions Inc.,
“Double Fine Happy Action Theater” is a series of vibrant, exciting
activities designed to activate gross motor skills, inspire imagination and
entertain players of all ages, from preschoolers to grandparents. Available
globally this holiday on Xbox LIVE, each of the 18 “Happy Action Theater”
experiences are similar to toys players can interact with on screen through
the magic of Kinect. Dive into an undersea adventure, play with hot lava, or
become a giant monster and stomp buildings to the ground. “Happy Action
Theater” is a virtual playground for all ages that is immediately accessible
and intuitively responds to players’ body movements. No rules, no menus, no
instructions — just pure fun.

Through new games such as “Rush” and “Happy Action Theater,” Xbox 360
continues to broaden its family portfolio with something for everyone.
Titles available this holiday include “Kinect: Disneyland Adventures,”
“Kinectimals Now with Bears,” “Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster,” “Kinect
Sports: Season Two” and “Dance Central 2.”

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