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MIT’s Neverending Drawing Machine Hints at the Future of Education

NEDM

Kids learn differently than when you and I were in school, and if research coming out of MIT’s Media Labs is anything to go by, in the future they’ll learn in tech-boosted ways that are incredible. Witness: The Neverending Drawing Machine, a collaborative art tool.

NEDM is basically a collaborative real-time content-sharing and
creativity system that lets users create novel digital artworks
together. In some ways, its interface and powers remind us of the
shelved Microsoft
Courier
content-creation and sharing platform that was destined to
be a novel tablet PC. It’s particularly targeted at kids, of course, and
because it’s digital it lets kids create art that wouldn’t be possible
before, and it means that they don’t necessarily need to be in the same
place together.

The NEDM comes partly from David Robert, formerly of Side Effects Software, and Derivative.ca’s TouchDesigner system. This is a hand-built device powered by Webcams, network connections, Web sources, video projectors, and manual controls all synced up through some Arduino circuitry. TouchDesigner is something like Microsoft’s Surface, something like the G-Speak Minority Report user interface, and something totally new, and it’s at the core of the NEDM.

Remember that we’re rapidly getting used to tablet PCs, that kid-friendly or educational apps are big news on the iPhone and iPad, and that ever-faster broadband is penetrating across the nation, this sort of technology–while its still a prototype–is a definite sign for the future direction of education.

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