Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

Revealed: the skeleton Key

Prime Minister to show us what he's made of as trust unveils latest technology.

The Life Education Trust uses motion-sensing technology to replicate a person's skeleton and organs on a screen. Photo / Supplied
The Life Education Trust uses motion-sensing technology to replicate a person's skeleton and organs on a screen. Photo / Supplied

The Prime Minister's heart, other vital organs and skeleton are to be displayed in Mt Wellington tonight.

John Key will open the Life Education Trust's 25th annual conference and be shown the latest technology used by the trust to teach school children.

The trust teaches health and nutrition to 225,000 primary and intermediate school children each year.

Its latest mobile classroom, one of 45 across the country, is equipped with Microsoft Kinect technology, which will replicate the Prime Minister's skeleton and organs as he stands in front of a screen.

"We can strip it down - you can start off with just the skeleton, and go right through the nervous system, you can bring in the body parts, you can examine the brain," said Life Education Trust chief executive John O'Connell.

"You can manipulate the whole thing with a remote control ... you can explore the different parts, go inside the heart and have a look."

Mr O'Connell said he was confident the Prime Minister was in good shape.

"Definitely we're quite sure that there is blue blood running through the veins."

"I guess the interesting one will be when he discovers that he's got red blood as well."

He said the technology would give school children a greater understanding of their bodies and what they need to do to remain healthy.

As the children react and move in the mobile classroom, the "augmented reality" of the images becomes their own skeleton and organs.

They can download the programme and use it as part of their lessons at school.

"Our challenge in remaining relevant is to integrate our programmes into schools' needs and learning outcomes," Mr O'Connell said.

"The whole reason we use mobile classrooms is the chance to grab the imagination of the children. So part of that learning experience is using some of the latest technology to really engage them."

Mr O'Connell said the charity brought its programmes to half of New Zealand primary and intermediate schools annually, but wanted to reach every school student each year.

"To achieve that we've got to fund and introduce 10 more technology driven classrooms in the next five years."

- NZ Herald

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