Nintendo DS in the Classroom

CBS Students bring their Nintendos to school!

Our class are enjoying using their Nintendo DS in the classroom to enhance their learning process. In recent months, a number of studies have been undertaken exploring the possible benefits of using hand-held games consoles, namely the Nintendo DS, as a teaching aid in Primary schools. Research has shown that games and related technologies can have a positive influence on education.
Teachers in the Sacred Heart Senior National School in Killinarden in Tallaght decided to test the use of Nintendo DS gaming devices as an aid to teaching maths. Three classes spent approximately 15 minutes a day using two games, Maths Training and Brain Training. All three classes in each grade were given mathematical tests (Drumcondra tests) before and after the trial period. In 4th-class maths, almost every pupil in the Nintendo group improved their score in comparison with last year – the average increase was more than 10 percentile points. The children who made the greatest gains were those (in 4th class) who had been using the game both in school and at home.
A pilot study at St Columba's Primary school in Dundee in Scotland found that a daily session on Nintendo's More Brain Training from Dr Kawashima helped improve maths skills, as well as concentration and behaviour levels. The nine- and ten-year-olds played the game, which include reading tests, problem solving exercises and memory puzzles, for 20 minutes. They were given a maths test at the beginning and end of the pilot and showed a 10% average improvement by the end of the 10-week experiment. The time taken to finish the test dropped from 17 minutes to 13 minutes and 19 seconds.
Considering the positive results of these studies, Children in Ms Culloty’s class in CBS are currently using their DS’s for a 30 minute period once a week, as a trial. Children bring in a variety of games which have been proven to build literacy and numeracy skills, and it is hoped they will also increase concentration levels. Brain Training and Big Brain Academy are proving the most popular to date. Children can download the games from each other and compete against one another. According to class teacher Michelle Culloty, the initial results have been amazing; “The level of concentration in the class is amazing during DS time. As the children are so interested in playing computer games nowadays, they are more alert and determined. They love the idea of playing against each other, and seeing who has the youngest Brain Age! We also use Pictochat, Nintendo’s messaging service to send messages to each other in Irish. The enthusiasm among the children is very encouraging, and there is huge potential for integrating computer games in to education”