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Who wants multi-touch? I think I just might.

Fellow blogger, Mary-Jo Foley, asked an interesting question the other day about the multi-touch capabilities of Windows 7: Is it a technology looking for a solution and does anyone actually want it?Overall, I'm with Mary-Jo.
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Fellow blogger, Mary-Jo Foley, asked an interesting question the other day about the multi-touch capabilities of Windows 7: Is it a technology looking for a solution and does anyone actually want it?

Overall, I'm with Mary-Jo. Touching my screen is something that holds no allure for me. As she puts its,

But, as I asked earlier this year, who really wants to have to touch their laptop or desktop screens to perform tasks that are easier and better done with a mouse and keyboard?

However, in Ed Tech, we have to cater to a wide variety of needs beyond those of people who are really good touch typists. While I will be the first to advocate that kids should learn to type (and type well) from a young age, this simply isn't an option for early childhood ed or kids with significant physical disabilities. While this is obviously a niche, there are a lot of learners who could benefit from new ways of interacting with a computer.

Imagine a vision-impaired kid using simple gestures on screen to zoom text and images? Kids with language difficulties interacting with word banks on-screen instead of typing or clicking? Even mouse or touchpad skills can be difficult for people with motor issues to acquire, but a large screen supporting multi-touch gestures could drastically expand the way disabled people can interact with a computer, the Internet, and a variety of software.

There are some multimedia apps where touch could play nicely as well. How about non-linear video editing or music composition?

Which really leads me to wonder if this isn't a technology looking for a solution but a paradigm waiting to shift. Just because traditional computer users like us can't think of uses for multi-touch, I have a distinct feeling that kids would be quite a bit more creative. After all, kids had embraced MySpace long before social media became a buzzword in business and education.

What do you think?

[poll id=86]

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