Tag Archives: Nintendo DS

Edutainment Strikes Again… Nintenducation

If you’re a student in Japan or Great Britain, you’re loving life right about now.  According to an article from Kotaku, schools in both countries are using Nintendo DS systems in K-12 classrooms.


How would a school use the DS to teach – consider the curriculum a Scottish school is developing around the DS.

“We suggest that schools follow [the Brain Age] methodology although they are free to trial other approaches,” said Robertson. “Our main approach is not to prescribe a series of lesson plans but to suggest how the game, be it Nintendogs or Hotel Dusk, can be used as the contextual hub about which learning in a variety of curricular links can grow from.”

Teachers are using Nintendogs, for example, to interest kids in reading, creative writing and art.  Some use it as a “mental starter to warm up” or as a literacy lesson.

Ethically, the article questions not only the value of games as teaching tools – everyone will have their own opinion – but, at $129.99 plus the cost of games, could US schools justify the spend when some school districts in the US can’t afford textbooks, let alone computers or Nintendo DS systems for every student.

A parent of a 3rd grader said, “”Ultimately, I don’t think they should have DSs in school because we have so many other things we could be spending money on.”

Which is worse for our students, being concerned with the value of edutainment or the dollar value of non-traditional learning?


Happy 20th Birthday Game Boy!

Today, April 21 marks the 20th anniversary of the original launch of Nintendo’s Game Boy!  From Tetris and Super Mario Brothers to Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS, like a fine wine, some things just get better with age!


The Digital Toy Connoisseur

Last year, I was at a Women in Children’s Media event, when one of the speakers looked at me and said, “I know you?”  After a few seconds, Wendy Smolen said, “You were my summer intern!”

Call it a memory lapse, the woman who mentored me nearly five years earlier at Nick Jr. magazine was now standing before me about to speak about her new organization, The Sandbox Summit.  Since reconnecting, I’ve attended one of The Sandbox Summit’s conferences and kept in great touch with Wendy.  (Her daughter applied to my undergrad alma mater Colgate University)

As the expert on toys and play, I sat down with Wendy to talk about children’s digital technology…

Perhaps the coolest job in the world, Wendy tests toys.  Not too shabby, huh?  I asked her what she’s playing with these days, and she said, “I just played an amazing game for the Nintendo DS that’s not coming out until July called ‘Treasure World.’ It uses random WiFi connections to open up ‘treasures’ in the game.”

When I asked about the best digital toys, Wendy said, “‘Best’ is a relative term,” and the best digital toys for kids are those that “engage them in positive ways, whatever those ways may be—-physical, mental, or social.”  But if we had to name names, the major players in the space, according to Wendy, include: Nintendo (especially the Wii), EA, Activision, MTV Games, Lucas Arts.  “The list goes on and on,” says Wendy.  She did add that companies like TechnoSource, Leapfrog, Bandai, Jakks Pacific are all “getting into the game.”

Being a true toy connoisseur, I was curious to hear what Wendy’s absolute favorite digital application was… “Chocolate Shop Frenzy on my iPhone.”