Sunday, February 7, 2010

Educon: Multi-Touch with Jeff Han

Four years ago, Jeff Han's TED talk started us thinking about how we might use simple, intuitive gestures to interact with technology; this past week, Educon attendees had the chance to experience a full scale multi-touch wall.

When Jeff brought his multi-touch wall to the Science Leadership Academy, it couldn't help but create a buzz among both students and educators. You likely know this technology as CNN's election coverage tool, but what stunned me, is that this is about the most intuitive piece of technology I've ever used.

In the first half of this two-minute video, you can see my reactions as a novice user, moments after being introduced the large scale multi-touch screen. In the latter half, you'll see Jeff Han, Founder and Chief Scientist of Perceptive Pixel, who is almost cavalier in using the wall to teach us about how broadcasters have engaged this technology.

It was a special treat to be able to speak with Jeff about how Bill Buxton, inspired his scientific mind back when Bits 'n Bytes was our window to the future of technology. And it was refreshing to know that in sharing with an audience of learners, Jeff was also interested to hear our ideas about how such technology might be leveraged in the classrooms of tomorrow.

Where this technology go next? Multi-touch is already influencing the development of new technologies like the recently announced iPad. If the next generation of devices is as intuitive as the multi-touch wall, we may be headed towards a future where even teachers will adopt new tools.

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