Nintendo DS Mandatory in Select Japanese Schools

by James Charlton - March 14, 2009, 9:12 pm PDT
Total comments: 14 Source: Sankei

This isn't the first time that Nintendo's handhelds, or even commercial brands, have entered the classroom as learning tools.

The Board of Education in Osaka, Japan have distributed Nintendo DS systems to ten elementary and junior high schools in the region.

The systems have been subsidised by the government and are rented to the schools rather than sold. Every student in the selected schools has been issued a DS handheld and will be required to use a variety of educational software in lessons.

There was some concern that the schools were in essence collaborating with video game manufacturers in accepting the handheld consoles into the classroom, but the Board of Education has decided that there are no conflicts of interest. The control of what software students use is clearly in the hands of each individual school.

This isn't close to being the first time the Nintendo DS has made it into the classroom for educational reasons. Last year, NWR reported on Tokyo's Joshi Gakuen all-girls junior high school involvement in a test involving using the DS to teach English.

In Japan, there are scores more educational and non-game titles than in other regions. Many have been top 10 sellers, like Nintendo's own Kanji training.

In fact, using commercial products in classrooms is not actually a new idea, character themed school books have been used before. Pingu, Doraemon and Pokemon branded educational material are among some of the most popular.

Talkback

EnnerMarch 15, 2009

Now this is quite neat. I wonder if there will ever be a time when a netbook is mandatory for high school.

I've actually heard of American charter schools and private schools where kids actually get laptops to use and curriculum's based around it.

mac<censored>March 15, 2009

This actually seems far more interesting than those usually kind of silly laptop programs -- the DS has a ton of "educational" software that's actually proven itself in the rather more brutal general market, and the hardware's hugely cheaper and more robust...

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterMarch 15, 2009

How ironic...

Most schools still confiscate any items brought into the classroom. Now its mandatory to bring them to school.

Its like the freaking Twilight Zone! :p

mac<censored>March 15, 2009

BTW, maybe I shouldn't even have put "educational" in quotes, 'cause much of the DS educational software in fact seems to be fairly hard-core serious stuff.  You see lots of adverts on japanese trains for DS software intended for studying for college entrance exams etc., often written by companies that normally have nothing to do with games...

StratosMarch 15, 2009

I remember back in the day my dad was involved in a program to provide laptops to middle school students. It never got off the ground due to logistics and funding issues. I remember telling my dad that kids that young shouldn't get expensive equipment like that based on how I saw classmates treat musical instruments.

I know some US schools now have funding for DDR machines for PE classes.
I also had a game called Mario Teaches Typing.

yoshi1001March 15, 2009

It sounds cool, but the bad news is now they have to play Personal Trainer: Math. ;)

Here in the US, a year or two ago the state of Texas signed an agreement with Pokemon Learning League.

TJ SpykeMarch 15, 2009

Quote from: Kairon

I've actually heard of American charter schools and private schools where kids actually get laptops to use and curriculum's based around it.

Some regular public schools do that too, but usually it's those high schools in rich suburbs where most students are from families making over $100,000 a year.

This is why I'm excited about the OLPC intiative. If you can make a laptop that costs $100 to make ($200 to sell and pack and ship and etc. I guess), AND that's sturdy enough to work in third world countries, that improves the feasibility of technology in the classroom leaps and bounds.

BTW, anyone try that SAT prep game for the DS?

DAaaMan64March 15, 2009

Meh, I don't school laptops really do you anything over a book. Sure in research they do, but teachers usually have a the research done, they just tell you where to study.

StratosMarch 15, 2009

Quote from: Kairon

This is why I'm excited about the OLPC intiative. If you can make a laptop that costs $100 to make ($200 to sell and pack and ship and etc. I guess), AND that's sturdy enough to work in third world countries, that improves the feasibility of technology in the classroom leaps and bounds.

BTW, anyone try that SAT prep game for the DS?

Actually, I have a differing opinion on the cheap laptops. I feel the money and effort could be put to better use. Maybe I'm just an old fashioned stick-in-the-mud who would rather just have a pen and paper and maybe a calculator for school studies.

I think the key is "third-world countries," those that don't have the resources to have collections of books, supplies, knowledge, or the ability to keep any of that up to date.  The OLPC removes the need for the givens in first-world education systems, and assuming their other basic needs are met, provides a window to possibilities they've simply never considered.
For first-world countries, I don't think the software/interface is quite there yet for replacing traditional school work, but it's getting closer by the day.

StratosMarch 16, 2009

Quote from: MegaByte

I think the key is "third-world countries," those that don't have the resources to have collections of books, supplies, knowledge, or the ability to keep any of that up to date.  The OLPC removes the need for the givens in first-world education systems, and assuming their other basic needs are met, provides a window to possibilities they've simply never considered.
For first-world countries, I don't think the software/interface is quite there yet for replacing traditional school work, but it's getting closer by the day.

I had a good conversation with one of my family members about this subject after my last post and she said a lot of similar things to what you said. Guess that I have the image of starving sustenance farmers in India who the government sacrifices them receiving basic necessities to survive for these laptops (as I have read is a concern in India among a number of people). But so long as those basic needs are met, then I would be more open to these types of programs.

That's why the best aid groups go directly to the people rather than distribute through the (often corrupt) governments.  It will probably take some personal effort; you can't just ship these off and expect magic to happen.

Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement