Providing top-notch schooling in rural communities is a problem around the world—and one that China, a country with more than 600 million rural residents, is committed to tackling. A big part of this effort centers on using technology to bring the urban classroom, with its greater teaching resources, to the rural schoolhouse.
Among the Chinese technology companies that are working to help deliver quality education to rural locations, Beijing Trainsfer stands out. This independent software vendor has created a long-distance teaching solution based on two Microsoft technologies: Kinect for Windows and Skype. Unlike other long-distance video solutions, which suffer from inferior video tracking and require expensive audio transmission equipment, the Kinect/Skype application offers a low-cost, high-quality way for urban educators to interact naturally with students in remote locations.
This subtitled video demonstrates the Kinect-enabled technology that is bringing
urban teaching to rural classrooms.
With a Kinect for Xbox One sensor in both the urban and rural classrooms, Trainsfer’s system employs a proprietary tracking robot that takes advantage of the Kinect sensor’s body tracking capabilities to accurately follow the movements of the teacher and the students. Meanwhile, the sensors’ RGB camera and microphone array faithfully capture the images and audio at each end. Then, by using a plug-in based on the DirectShow technology, the Kinect data is processed for remote transmission via Skype.
With the Trainsfer solution in place, the distance between teacher and students becomes irrelevant. It’s as if everyone were located in the same classroom. Through this virtual classroom, the system provides a cost-effective way to bridge the educational divide between urban and rural settings.
In this video, we see the installation of the Trainsfer long-distance teaching
solution in two rural schools.
The solution is now being tested in four classrooms, two each in Qinghai and Guizhou provinces, bringing quality education to about 200 rural students. If this trial is successful, the Kinect-enabled remote-learning solution could be adopted across China, bringing better educational opportunities to tens of millions of rural students.
The Kinect for Windows Team