Education is a bitch. Teachers usually leave the profession within five years, kids either bomb standardized tests or learn them so well they bottom out immediately after, and funding is scarcer and scarcer to come by. The solution? Interactive multi-touch desks, naturally!
Currently in England's Durham University, researchers received about $3 million to create SynergyNet, a system of infrared-sensitive multi-touch desks for children. The goal is to improve collaboration between students and with their teachers, and to engage "hard to reach" kids, especially boys who are increasingly disenfranchised. It makes sense in a lot of ways: Not only does it let kids share their work and even their desks with others for group activities, but the high-end processing includes video support and a game-quality physics engine, so who knows what might appear in the lesson plan?
I'd like to have one of my own, for sure, but I still have my doubts: The reason kids don't succeed surely isn't that they've been writing with pencils and looking up at the teacher's chalkboard instead of keeping their heads down and moving numbers and letters around virtually with their hands. [Science Daily; Reg Hardware]