Microsoft is introducing Windows MultiPoint, a technology enabling multiple users to share a single PC using multiple mice or other peripherals.
The technology helps shift the student from passive to active learning, creating a collaborative environment for students to interact with.
According to Microsoft, in a classroom of 40 children with only four PCs among them, 10 students crowd around each machine, while one student takes center position and controls the mouse. Other students point, gesture and vie for control of the mouse, but they ultimately have no direct control of the PC and often lose interest and shift their attention elsewhere.
The company says that boosting the PC-to-student ratio by buying more PCs as not a viable solution too many schools in developing countries, and even with more machines, traditional PC set-ups do not allow for collaborative learning and teamwork.
Windows MultiPoint tries to solve this problem, by helping students to use PCs to learn together versus having an isolated computer experience where they’re each on their own PC. In addition, MultiPoint offers an affordable way to decrease student-to-PC ratios, and provides a platform for Windows education software developers to create collaborative learning applications.
Microsoft plans to make an alpha version of MultiPoint software development kit (SDK) available for download in January 2007, and the company has committed to delivering monthly builds until release to manufacturing (RTM) in May, Bealkowski says. In addition, Microsoft is encouraging this year’s Imagine Cup student coders to use Multipoint technology in related category challenges.
The Windows MultiPoint technology works with Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Windows Vista.