Oct 9, 2012

Leap Motion: Any Surface is a Touch Surface

If you are just dying to get a Promethean board, or a Smart Board, or any other sort of large "touch screen surface" and have been yelling at some administrative contact for years now to get one, you may want to hold on for just a minute. Personally, I think the large, expensive, and immobile "smart boards" are anything but smart choices for your classroom. I can only imagine what our district paid to have one of these in each math and science classroom, at every school, but I'm sure it was quite the pretty penny. My experience with the technology has left a resounding "meh, whatever" in my head and I would counsel districts who are contemplating such a purchase to seriously reconsider.

In line with what I see as a ubiquitous problem in schools today - most teachers and districts blindly buy "cool" technology and hoping to fix problems extant in their rooms. If the tech is cheap - sure give it a shot - but more often than not it is expensive and wholly not worth that expense.

Enter the Leap Motion. What we have here is a compact replacement for the smart boards of the world. Essentially you'll be able to place this, well, anywhere and turn the 'air' above the device into a "touch region." Walls, screens, TV, whiteboards, hallways, or even open space could be turned into touch surfaces in a snap. Check out the promo here:

If you're not convinced that this can step into the role of the "next-gen smart board" check out the price: $70. That's right, for the price of your kids next X-Box game (that you really shouldn't buy anyway), you get touch-screen capabilities anywhere you want. You can buy more than one, chain them together, and turn entire walls into touch regions.

The catch? Well, it's not available, not yet anyway. The Leap devices should start shipping early next year, just in time for your 2013-2014 budget plans and you can already pre-order them. If you are a district official and are looking for a pilot device program, I would seriously consider taking a look into this device.  

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