Saturday, June 28, 2008

Super Mario Goes Back to School

Your Japanese students want to learn English but are failing to make the grade. What do you do? Tokyo Joshi Gakuen school in Japan believe that they have found the answer in deploying that darling of Japanese students – Nintendo.

Reuters report today that junior high school teacher Motoko Okubo has introduced the handheld DS and textbook software. The move clearly surprised students, whose personal devices have todate been banned from the classroom. Interestingly the move has also show encouraging results and the report quotes her saying, "The students are really concentrating and have fun in gaining skills such as spelling," she said.

Japan's education ministry leaves decisions on teaching tools to schools and so far, it's only English that is being used at the all-girls school. However other schools are now using the device in maths and Japanese classes and Nintendo's range of advanced and easy-to-learn games now include education titles.

Is it one off or the being of a trends to use ubiqitious deves to engage and encourage students to learn? Will it only succeed in high tech savvy countries such as Japan? It is an interesting exercise to use the devices that the students are familiar with and use outside the classroom to help them in the classroom. We have seen the huge adoption of games consoles and perhaps they offer a more engaging student interface and wiser investment than even a laptop or a whiteboard.

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