The other day I had one of those “why didn’t I think of that” moments. I was poking around on the internet and somehow stumbled across a teachers’ forum where someone was discussing how she uses Wii games in the classroom. This particular person was a math teacher, so she primarily used the Big Brain Academy game. However, this sparked my imagination and got me thinking of all the different ways you could integrate the Wii into a lesson.
Once I got online and did a little searching, I found that most of my creative ideas (or at least I thought they were) are already being used by a lot of teachers. Some of the best ideas that I found were:
Technical Writing Prompt – Have your students create a unique Mii and then write step-by-step instructions of how they did it. Then, have the students share their directions with a partner, and see if the partner can make the same Mii.
Color, Shape, Size Recognition – For younger students, have them use the Mii channel’s sorting feature to organize Miis by color, shape, size, etc.
Weather / News Stations– Use the Wii’s weather and news channels to discuss daily weather and events. You can also view a 3-D version of the earth that can be turned and zoomed in on.
Physical Fitness – Almost all of the Wii sports games would work well in a P.E. class. Not only can the students get up and move around, but they also learn fundamentals about many different sports.
Learning Games – There are several Wii games ideal for the classroom. Some of the better ones are:
• Big Brain Academy – Great for problem solving, estimating, predicting, spatial relationships
• My Word Coach – Teaches word structure, definitions, and more.
• Smarty Pants – Trivia game
• Endless Ocean & African Safari – Learn about nature, habitats, animals, food chain, topography, maps
Truthfully, what you can do with the Wii is only limited by your creativity, and I am sure that somewhere there is a software developer coming up with more Wii games to use in the classroom. Overall, I am most excited about this idea because it will undoubtedly solve every teacher’s biggest problem – keeping the students’ attention. What’s also great is that it is adaptable for every grade level, and all ages of students will enjoy using it.
Probably the hardest part of the whole process will be getting your hands on one (I don’t think it is something that is going to be on the top of most school district’s budgets).
Probably the best way to get a Wii in your school is by putting in a request with the Parents’ association. Even if they can just afford to buy a few of Wiis, they can be left in the library for teachers to check out when needed.
Although some would say video games have no place in a classroom, I feel that most children (especially younger ones) learn best through play. Although it may not be something you want to use every day, it is a great Friday activity and can be used as a behavior motivation tool.