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Wii in the classroom?

Wander through most classrooms and students will be sitting in their desks. Their desks are in rows and the teacher is in the front of the room. Sounds very much like a classroom in the one room schoolhouse of yesterday.

This is not the case in one high school classroom. Wander into this classroom and you will see students working at computers, working in the kitchen area, and working with the Wii. That is right. The Nintendo Wii. Where is the teacher of this unique classroom? She, and her staff, is in the middle of this explosion. These are students with multiple disabilities and learn best in a non-traditional classroom. The Wii is a wonderful addition.

Nintendo Wii

Most families gather around a television set to play the Wii. Not here. In this classroom, connecting the Wii console to the smartboard creates a giant television screen for Wii play. The large screen allows viewing from anywhere in the room including everyone.

What learning occur with the Wii in the classroom? The teaching staff listed the ways:

  • Language skills
  • Gross /fine motor
  • Cognitive skills
  • Exercise and fitness
  • Socialization
  • Music

One main consideration in implementing the Wii is purpose. Adults know how easy it is to lose time when engrossed in a video game activity, like the Wii. Everyone becomes engrossed and needs to balance play with work. The classroom and Wii is no different.

In the classroom, planning for the Wii is critical for successful learning. I asked the staff how the Wii will be used in the classroom. This was their response, “The Wii is a positive reinforcement. Adults supervise the Wii and promote multiple user play. The Wii is not allowed to distract students from classroom learning.”

Since the implementation of the Wii in this classroom, the teaching staff has witnessed an increase in student learning. One student has responded by completing tasks quicker than before. Another student demonstrated appropriate social communication skills. The interaction between general education students and students with special needs has increased. The educational value of the Wii is evident in this unique classroom.

As with any technology tools, careful planning is important to success.

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