I came across a short article by Christopher Dawson over at ZDNet posing the question “Do game consoles have a place in primary education?” His rationale is as follows:
However, the new game, Cosmic Family, is a slick game filled with puzzles and animation. While the puzzles are engaging, the Wii itself, with it’s motion-sensitive Wiimotes, takes a remarkable amount of coordination and sensitivity to operate.
As I watch the kindergarten teacher work to develop just this sort of skill, I have to wonder if there might not be a place for systems like the Wii (with a limited selection of appropriate software, of course) in early elementary education, just as there is for desktop or laptop computers.
It seems to me that the Wii could be a great tool for developmental work, as well as occupational or physical therapy for particular students with identified needs in these areas. The parent in me feels a knee-jerk sense of horror at the thought of Nintendos in classrooms or gymnasiums. However, the technologist in me sees some new tools that just might take us beyond technology for the sake of technology.
I understand how a parent can feel that sense of “horror” at the thought of video games in school. But then again, it really depends on your perspective. If you see video games as a tool to enhance your children’s educational experience, it would probably be a sense of elation and not horror that you would feel.
I think the bottom line here is control and discipline. Just like any other school subject, the idea of using video games for educational purposes should be monitored and guided strictly. I think that it is a perfectly good idea to expose young children to technology – learning and fun together, don’t you think so?