Kinesthetic Elementary Mathematics - Creating Flow with Gesture Modality

Jussi Okkonen, Sumita Sharma, Roope Raisamo, Markku Turunen


Educational games for young children have boomed with the growing abundance of easy to use interfaces, especially on smartphones and tablets. In addition, most major gaming consoles boast of multimodal interaction, including the more novel and immersive gesture-based or bodily interaction; a concept proved by masses of consumers including young children. 

In this paper, we examine an elementary mathematics learning application that aims to promote a state of flow for children aged between 6-8 years. The application is run on a PC and uses the Microsoft Kinect sensor for motion tracking. It provides gamified approaches to teach the number system between 0-20. Our underlying hypothesis is that kinesthetic learning methods supported by bodily interaction provide leverage to different types of learners.

The paper describes the results of two sets (n1=23, n2=44) of pilot tests for exercise application for PC and Kinect. The tools utilized include a short and simplified survey for the children, and another survey and open-ended questionnaire for the teachers. Our key findings relate to the user experience of gesture-based interaction and show how the gesture modality promotes flow. Furthermore, we discuss our preliminary assessment on several learning related themes.


learning games; gesture interaction; flow; immersion

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