AN INTERACTIVE FLOOR – A TOY OR AN EDUCATIONAL AID

Supposedly, not everyone knows what an interactive floor is. Or surprisingly they know but they do not realise that it is what we are talking about. In several malls or shopping centres, we are likely to spot some areas that are motion sensitive. Fish, flowers or other objects scatter at our sight. Some moments of fun… let’s go further, shopping will not be done by itself.

So, what is an interactive floor? We are tipped by the name itself – a thing of the floor that can respond. It can be said this is a comprehensive definition. We can add that it stimulates, fires the imagination, supports the motility development… entertains and educates. Truly, a magical device!

Certainly, there are several types of interactive floors, different producers, various functionalities.

What can be done with an interactive floor at school or in a kindergarten? Why do we need another device, as we already have such a vast range of interactive boards, tablets, computers, projectors, document cameras and so on? And this is where a funny part begins. An interactive floor possesses a quality that no others do, namely it creates the space (whose size depends on the kind of a device that is in use), where several people simultaneously can act. Moreover, it activates the whole of the body so that a fish, mentioned at the beginning, will not vanish, and we need to follow it, capture, wave our hands.

Not so long ago, a Warsaw based company called Funtronic has proposed the educational use of the device. We have created an original product cheaper, more effectively and much safer. We have done it. We, Poles can do. And the name itself, hits the nail right on the head – a Magic Carpet.

We have managed to obtain an optimal size of a displayed picture, and the device is a compact box, with no other peripherals like wires, mirrors or other extended elements that are so commonly met with Chinese or Western Europe produced products. We have equipped the device with a Wi-Fi module and the platform for automatic upgrading of the software and here have we the first, unique and Polish fully functional interactive floor.

So, we do have a new device and as long as fish in the kindergarten are attractive way of having fun, they will not suffice for long. A package of new games was much in need. However, not any package, but the one that will allow teachers to engage children of different grades and at different levels of development in the work with an interactive floor.

Firstly, the games were created with the cooperation with our friendly teachers, however the following ones are the effect of the engagement of professionals who have realised the potential of the device on the basis of content in the area of education. One of the sets for the rehabilitation has been created exactly in this way. A specialistic centre has applied to the producer and suggested adjusting already existing games to the needs of the daily work with children. What is more, it turned out that one device, that is a Magic Carpet, can successfully replace several other devices in Rehabilitation and Care Centres, and Experience-the-world Rooms.

Even the very basic set of 24 games included with the device allows for exercising with children several skills, like development of children’s motor skills, the ability to focus, hand-eye coordination, development of spatial imagination, imagination of your own body and many others. Simple games will suffice at early stages of development, like water, being the best example, that simulates the movement and sound of real water flowing. The creativity of the teachers with such an application knows no boundaries. They can combine activities previously avoided by children. Activities like crawling, rolling objects, following displayed obstacles are great fun now. Virtually, every teacher is now capable of coming up with their own applications, and this is just one game.

More complicated and demanding games have been created to higher levels, referring to the Core Curriculum. What can be taught and learnt is English education, mathematics, natural science, history, all of which is obtainable within known and well-perceived forms of activities, like quizzes, mind maps, and associations.

Ergo, a question if the interactive floor can be a didactic aid seems a rhetorical one. However, it is worth paying attention if a device is accompanied by the content that is rethought and adapted to educational uses, and not only games dedicated to the shopping centres and playrooms.

Funtronic engineers have shown that it is possible. Their creation, a Magic Carpet together with all sets of games, extracts the essence of the device, and gives access to the best of it.

All interested parties are kindly invited to visit our website: funtronic.eu, where a detailed description of a Magic Carpet and the games is provided, as well as the sample movies of how to use a device. Have fun!