“The OS is the interface, the interface is the OS…they’re inseparable, they are one.”

– John Underkoffler

As a teacher, one of the most difficult things for students to grasp in a science class is how to manipulate data and turn it into something meaningful. It’s very common for students to look at a table of values and not know how that translates into a visual representation like a graph. What I really enjoyed about this presentation was the demonstration of how data could be manipulated to be displayed on a global scale. It was more than just a table or a graph. It was something almost anyone could look at and understand immediately. (If that’s not obvious to you, ask yourself when you last used a histogram. Or even what a histogram is.)

This technology presents us with new possibilities that go beyond the SMART Board technology which is 2-dimensional. Yes, we’re looking at things like multi-touch and better user interfaces, but that is nothing compared to the innate knowledge associated with how we already interact with real-world objects and real-world space. Part of what makes using the iPad (as Mr. Underkoffler discusses regarding Apple) so easy to use is that we are already familiar with the interface and how to interact with it. For instance, reading e-books is as easy as flicking your finger across the screen, much the same as you would an actual page.

I find it incredibly exciting to consider how something like this might engage a kinaesthetic learner. Or any learner for that matter. We know that to immerse students in intellectual concepts requires that they be intellectually and emotionally engaged. This technology can do that. And it will, we need only be patient.