CBC News – Technology & Science – Nintendo guru targets education

Back from Toronto where we were visiting our son, who is now in a computer game design programme. The March Break is over. I was planning on posting some tips about using Open Office in the classroom when I spotted the following news item:

Nintendo guru targets education

CBC News – Technology & Science – Nintendo guru targets education

Could Nintendo’s Mario be swapping his world of magic mushrooms and ravenous dinosaurs for the staid confines of the classroom?

The man behind the massively popular video game franchise thinks so, saying he’s working hard to turn Nintendo Co.’s brand of hand-held consoles into educational aids and teaching tools.

“That is maybe the area where I am devoting myself [the] most,” Japanese video game guru Shigeru Miyamoto told The Associated Press in an interview.

Speaking through a translator, Miyamoto said that Nintendo’s DS console was already being used in Japanese museums, galleries and aquariums, and that his company was beginning to roll out the Nintendo DS system “in junior high and elementary schools in Japan starting in the new school year.”

He framed the project as part of his company’s effort to broaden the audience for gaming consoles.

Miyamoto’s design credits include Super Mario Bros., Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong. He also played a pivotal role in designing Nintendo’s popular new motion-sensitive console, the Wii, which has consistently outsold rivals by attracting nontraditional gamers such as women and seniors.

Based on personal experience, this is an obvious next step, that I and my family were anticipating. My daughter is a Downs teenager and daily attends a Special Needs school. When at home, her older brother,, would use the DS console to practise math equations and spelling with his sister. He would send the addition equation to her from his console and she would complete it and send it back. The potential to use this “game” console for educational purposes seemed natural.

My wife, son, and I complained about how cumbersome and limited the expensive communication devices that were made available to my daughter. DS console was far cheaper, much smaller, used a stylus and touch screen, and had a larger memory. He was disappointed to see how expensive and limited the media technology for Special Needs actually was in comparison to the media technology for commercial entertainment. As a consequence, one of his goals is to develop games that can be used for educational purposes and include Special Needs people in the target audience.

A further note, they now have a SMART Board in my daughter’s class and she is in charge of the weather report. I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that it will be possible to use the DS console with the SMART Board and open up a whole range of educational activities for all students.

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While checking for other information related to this subject I discovered this valuable site –

Edgalaxy -Educational Gaming and Internet Resources.

This site provides educational resources for teachers on the internet and new media. A mother lode of lessons, activities, news, and free stuff .

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