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The Educational Potential of Nintendo Games

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From Animal Crossing, Super Mario Bros, and Mario Kart, Nintendo has created many incredible video games that kids and kids at heart enjoy. But these masterpieces can give more than just fun – they can be great tools for teaching students. 

Many students today spend an enormous amount of their free time playing video games. This activity constitutes 97% of pre-teens and teenagers’ leisure time. Since one of the fundamental constructs of education is utilizing what children know to improve their learning, using video games offers an opportunity to create advanced and enjoyable learning systems. 

For example, teachers can give students homework about listing and describing different insects, fish, and fossils found in Animal Crossing (the gameplay has a real-world basis). Therefore, students are likely to enjoy working on their homework. For those who aren’t fond of video games, you’ll find some homework assistance online. Services that “do my hw for me” exist.

Gameplay in School Offers More Than Just Fun 

Those who have played Nintendo video games know how fun it can be. Depending on the game you choose, the video game allows you to interact and compete with other players, complete missions, etc. You can use video games as a tool for teaching your students, making learning fun.

While many remain skeptical about using video games in school, many have already started welcoming Nintendo products into their classrooms. A non-profit organization called the Institute of Play (IOP) collaborated with Nintendo in 2018 to create a program that allows the use of specific Nintendo products called Nintendo Labo in classrooms.

Nintendo Labo is a kit of cardboard pieces with which kids can build tools, robots, etc., which “come to life” when you use a Nintendo Switch console. The use of the product in teaching has yielded positive results, encouraging students to become more creative. Using Nintendo Labo in classrooms proves that technology can make learning more enjoyable.

Nintendo Games Can Boost Concentration

The use of Nintendo Labo has also helped students to focus. And improving focus and attention isn’t just an anecdotal benefit of using video games in the classroom. Studies have found that virtual games can boost attention and focus, especially for students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). One research also found that an hour spent playing video games can increase our brain’s ability to focus.

Focus is essential in learning. It helps students take note of important information, fully comprehend a story, and perform other tasks. Unfortunately, the average attention span of typical students these days is about 10 to 15 minutes long. Hence, teachers need to be more creative, and using video games is one of the ways to do it. 

Nintendo Games Promote Collaboration

Nintendo games offer single-player mode, but most games encourage players to work with other players. Let’s take Animal Crossing: New Horizon as an example. At the start of the game, players need to build an island from a black slate. But to begin and progress in the game, you need to collaborate with other inhabitants of the island. 

Being able to work with others seamlessly is a valuable life skill. And video games can teach students, especially those engaged in distance learning, this essential life skill. The need to collaborate also allows students to practice other useful skills, like effective communication and leadership abilities.

Nintendo Games Enhance Problem-Solving Skills

Some Nintendo games require the player to design their place. According to one research, children who designed their cities in simulation games demonstrated stronger problem-solving skills than those who learned about cities in a traditional way. Other Nintendo games are rich with challenges and puzzles, which can all help improve kid’s ability to solve problems. 

Problem-solving is one of the skills that can help students thrive in school and in real life. It helps students become more resilient as they learn to look at problems from a different or new perspective. It will also help them become more confident.

Best Educational Nintendo Switch Games 

Nintendo has created tons of incredible games throughout the years. If you have a hard time choosing which games to use in your classroom, here are a few recommendations: 

  1. Animal Crossing: New Horizon

Animal Crossing: New Horizon is one of the most famous games for the Nintendo Switch. If you haven’t played or heard of it yet, this game is all about creating and designing your own island. It also offers many different challenges that allow the player to discover insects, fish, and other aspects of the world. 

  1. Nintendo Labo

By now, you have an idea about Nintendo Labo. Nintendo Labo comes with a kit that includes tangible cardboard toys that you need to construct. However, there is no instruction on how to build the toys. Instead, the game will walk you through the building of each toy. Once you finish assembling the toy, it will be incorporated into gameplay. 

  1. Game Builder Garage

This game will teach you how to make video games. You can choose between Free Programming and Interactive Lessons. In the Interactive Lessons mode, you will follow interactive lessons that walk you through the process of building seven different games. The player will be able to see not just the actual game, but also the behind-the-scenes.  

  1. Super Mario Maker 2

Like the Game Builder Garage, Super Mario Maker 2 will let you become a game creator, but as Mario himself. With this Nintendo game, your imagination is the limit. You create a game using the items you encounter in Super Mario, like those classic coins, Fire Flowers, and Super Leafs. Aside from that, you can play the games you create.

  1. Clubhouse Games With 51 Worldwide Classics 

This Nintendo game allows you to play different traditional types of games, like card and board games, virtually. It also includes games famous in different countries, like Chinese Checkers, Shogi, and Chess. This game combines strategic thinking skills, cultural exploration, and a gaming experience.

Homework or Video Game? Why Not Both

Learning activities don’t stop at school. It’s common for teachers in different parts of the world to give homework to their students. Whether it is in middle school or college, homework is part of a student’s life. As previously mentioned, most students spend their free time playing video games. So they are likely to have to choose which to do first: homework or video game?

By using video games as teaching tools, you can make students’ learning fun. They do not have to choose between enjoying a game and learning. They can do both at the same time. And since students these days are fond of video games, at least you can be sure they get something out of it. 

Sources:

Mannering, M. (2022). Drop the code for just a moment: what Animal Crossing can teach you about teamwork. DEV Community. https://dev.to/mishmanners/drop-the-code-for-just-a-moment-what-animal-crossing-can-teach-you-about-teamwork-50e7

Neuroscience News. (2018). One Hour of Video Gaming Can Increase the Brain’s Ability to Focus. Neuroscience News. https://neurosciencenews.com/focus-video-gaming-8513/

Nguyen, H. P. (2021). How to use gameplay to enhance classroom learning. Edutopia. https://www.edutopia.org/article/how-use-gameplay-enhance-classroom-learning/

Sager, J. (2023, January 30). 10 Benefits of Classroom Games for Kids (And Teachers Too). Teach Starter. https://www.teachstarter.com/us/blog/11-benefits-of-playing-games-in-the-classroom-resources-included/

Sullivan, E. T. (2019, February 4). For today’s kids, playing Nintendo in the classroom isn’t just a dream. EdSurge. https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-02-01-for-today-s-kids-playing-nintendo-in-the-classroom-isn-t-just-a-dream

Toscano, S. (2023, July 31). 7 Educational Nintendo Switch games that kids will love. Parents. https://www.parents.com/fun/educational-nintendo-switch-games-for-learning/

TXH
TXH
TXH loves nothing more than kicking back at the end of the day, controller in hand, shooting the hell out of strangers via Xbox Live.

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