Handheld Games Consoles
Several MoLeNET projects have used handheld games consoles, i.e. the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, with
learners. These were found to be particularly useful for
motivation, literacy and numeracy, re-engaging disaffected learners and
coping with behavioural difficulties and can contribute to improving
attendance and achievement.
Literacy and Numeracy
“Students have given feedback to the
teacher that they feel it has helped with their maths and
motivation. They recognised that their maths was improving and
they were focusing more easily. Some pupils recognised that their
handwriting was improving. One particular student experienced a
problem writing the number 3 and often write the number backwards - use
of the Nintendo DS and Brain Training has helped to correct this” Cornwall, Fowey.
“.....The use of the Nintendo DS
with Brain Training removed the stigma of a maths lesson with generally
disengaged learners. It improved the learner’s performance and
memory of basic mental arithmetic. It also allowed basic
arithmetic to practiced and improved without them becoming disengaged
after a short period of time due to boredom.....” Cornwall College, St Austell.
“Can m-learning provide mini-lessons in literacy/numeracy?
learners in Leicester have particular difficulties with these skills.
Gateway and Regent College both have entire departments and divisions of
teachers that provide support lessons in these areas. By looking at
previous research, we knew the greatest benefit would be to use existing
packages such as the Nintendo DS and Nintendo wii and their associated
‘Brain Games’. The literacy/numeracy levels of these games and
motivational/competitive aspects captured the students’ imaginations and
re-focused their energies. The games were often used as a study break
(e.g. in IT lessons) or students were given the games as a reward to
take home for a night.” Regent College.
“The Nintendo DS Lites were used in Maths lessons as a device to
provide a breather, a change of activity for students during double
lessons. Students responded well to programmes such as the Brain
Training and the Maths Training, but this software was in no way a
substitute for the teaching that went on in class.” Regent College.
“In particular, there has been a focus on literacy and numeracy
levels which are poor in Leicester, and these have certainly been
improved with some of the gadgets such as the Nintendo DS and the Wii.” Regent College.
“During an IT class, the teacher
decided to give the students a study break by letting them compete on
literacy/numeracy tests on the Nintendo DS. This proved to be very
successful and the teacher is now using it as a regular motivator for
the students” Regent College.
Motivation, behaviour, attendance and achievement
“....Motivation to complete class
task - they knew they had the reward of time on DS. Practical
& fun activity - engaged learners. Informal skills assessment -
learners did not realise they were being assessed and so felt no
pressure.....” Cornwall College, Camborne
“During an IT class, the teacher decided to give the students a
study break by letting them compete on literacy/numeracy tests on the
Nintendo DS. This proved to be very successful and the teacher is now
using it as a regular motivator for the students” Regent College
“The NEET project was started before the MoleNet project, though
MoleNet funding was used to provide the students with better, and more
equipment. Because the project has run for a year it is possible to make
a more informative analysis of whether or not gaming devices actually
re-engaged disaffected learners. There were improvements in attendance
and attainment compared with previous years, and the learners seemed
genuinely more engaged. Stephen Thorne has led the initiative in
engaging NEET learners with the use of PSP’s in his . Stephen argues that:
“The project was initially about
getting bums on seats and keeping them there. The games themselves were
fun for the students but they were also designed to test their numeracy
skills. The project was successful and not only was retention increased
but the students tended to be more well behaved in the classroom.”
The portable games machines have made a genuine improvement on
learner engagement and Stephen is continuing with the project and will
be trialing new software specifically designed to improve the learners