We borrowed the wii to provide motivation for children to participate in physical activity. We also wanted to improve the fine and gross motor skills of P1 children and in particular children with Additional Support Needs.
How ICT supported Learning and Teaching
We used the wii within our P.E. sessions, Purposeful Play and our school Fun Day. Children played a variety of games from the wii sports package in small groups. During P.E. we used the wii as a station within our fitness stations. Children rotated through all stations ensuring that everyone had a turn. During Purposeful Play the wii was used as a specific area where children could develop their movement skills.
Many children were experienced in using the wii and were skilled in using the controllers and navigating through the games. We found the wii had a positive impact on social interaction. Experienced wii users enjoyed explaining to less experienced users how to use the controllers to play the games. The games also provided the children with a topic of conversation and the communication between players and the audience during the games was an unexpected benefit. The wii also provided an excellent way for children with ASN/physical disabilities to participate fully in physical activity and to develop their fine and gross motor skills. All children enjoyed using the wii and were motivated to take part in physical activity.
Here are some of their thoughts:
“I liked playing the tennis. It was the best part.”
“The bowling was fun.”
“I liked playing the wii during the fun day because it was fun.”
“I liked when I was playing with my friends because it was good fun.”
After reaching the heady heights of the high score/performance domain in Just Dance we have now moved on the the more theatrical dance world of Dance on Broadway. This dancing game for the NIntendo Wii is set in the world of musical theatre and requires that you perform routines as perfect as possible....
Still thinking about it's educational application but already I have managed to make my young daughters aware of a range of muscial theatre shows and their underpinning storylines as a result of their developing interest in some of the songs that they enjoy playing/performing.
Only problem with this game is that the proper jazz hand technique is compromised when holding the Wiimote ;-)
Sometimes your best ideas for classroom practice can be found in the most unlikeliest of places. Well just the other day I think I stumbled upon another excellent opportunity for learning via a COTS game. I had heard about a game called Let's Tapfrom the Nintendo Wii and that the gameplay involved tapping the desk in order for the Wiimote to pick up the vibrations. Said vibrations would then control what happened in the game. Well. the most certainly do and I found myself playing this game for about an hour on Tuesday afternoon with my Development Officer at the ConsolariumBrian McLaren. What larks we had and after an hour of mirth, discussion and competition the ladies in the main office in LTSDundee said that we were, "squealing like a couple of lassies!" (No sexist inference from me...just reporting what was said.)
Well what is Let's Tap? Have a look:
The game involved include:
Tap Runner: Sprint for the finish line in over 16 courses while avoiding obstacles including hurdles, ice wall and electric fields. (1-4 players)
Rhythm Tap: There are a wide range of songs to master in Rhythm Tap. Feel the beat and tap light, medium, hard in sync with the on-screen tap indicators. (1-4 players)
Silent Blocks: Different modes using light and hard taps to strategically remove blocks one at a time from the column without causing it to topple over. (1-4 players)
Bubble Voyager: Clad in a space suit, solo players tap to keep their character afloat through many levels filled with dangerous objects; a double tap will launch a missile. In multiplayer matches, you will shoot each other a number of times to win. (1-4 players)
Visualizer: Everyone will take their turn with several unique stages including Fireworks, Paint, River, Gem Game and Ink. Tapping with light, medium and hard strokes produces on-screen effects ranging from a fireworks display to undersea bubbles. In special tap sequences, various sea animals will appear. (1 player)
I feel that there is scope for the incorporation of all of the games in to the classroom in one way or another but the one that has really resonated with me is the Visualiser and the possibilities that this may have in the ASN context. Brian and I were lost in this part of the game and found ourselves orchestrating the most vivid and wildly beautiful firework displays, causing consternation in the coy pool or creating random Jackson Pollockesque canvases (ok maybe pushing it a little) by by tapping and banging on the table. The impact on a large projection screen within this game as a result of a simple tap or bang is just simply wonderful.
I'd very much like to see what this game could bring to the experiences of learners in the ASN context because of the simple way that players can engage with the game and the incredible return they get from a simple tap on a desk. I hope to report back on ways in which it has been put to use in schools very soon. I wholeheartedly recommend this game just for the fun aspect but yet again within a game designed for entertainment we see great educational potential.