Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Using the Nintendo Wii with Skills for Life learners

The tutor for a group of 7 Skills for Life learners asked if I would do a session using the Wii as part of a unit they are doing about healthy living and exercise.  They could take photos and use this as evidence.
I set up the Wii to display on the interactive whiteboard and set up two controllers. It is easy to set up the Wii  with the IWB – it now only takes me about 5mins from out of the box to ready to play.

I decided that we would start with bowling as I knew from previous experience that this was the game that these students liked best and that they found the most enjoyable and manageable. The students are quite happy to take it in turns so the controllers just get passed to the next person in line once you have had a go. Therefore the score is not really important and they are not particularly competitive with each other. They are good at encouraging each other and the good thing about the bowling is that they all find it relatively easy. The action needed with the controller seems to be relatively easy – I don’t know how much of this is ‘prior experience’ and how much is inherent in the action.

Next we played baseball which they also enjoyed. I suggested this but said that I wasn’t sure how it worked and that we would have to give it a try. They seemed happy with this and weren’t unnerved by the fact that we weren’t sure how the scoring worked. This game meant that they had to work together as one person had to ‘throw’ and the other ‘hit’. They soon got the hang of it and didn’t seem to mind whether they were a hitter or thrower. The action was still relatively easy to do.

Tennis was next on the list – again most of them had played it before and knew the basics. The scoring was ok and prompted discussion. They enjoyed it but didn't think it was the best game.

We then played darts which I have done previously with some other groups of students for numeracy. On this occasion with these students it wasn’t particularly successful for a number of reasons. The controller is held in a different way and the action of throwing is different. It requires two actions – one to place the target and then one to fire the dart. It is very difficult to be accurate and also for these students any benefits of the numeracy theme were not worthwhile. The good thing about it was they discussed it lots and really tried to help each other although they got a bit frustrated or lost interest in the end.

The whole session was good fun – they enjoyed it and I did too.

The main point to remember I have found when using the Wii is that some games / activities work better than others – nearly all groups enjoy the bowling so it is a safe bet although can be time consuming if they don’t want to share.  Some games are much more difficult than others e.g. air hockey, darts.  Sometimes it is a nice surprise when a particular game appeals to a variety of learners e.g. shuffleboard.

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