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Do video games actually have a place in school?

My soon-to-be first-grader just got a new game for the Nintendo Wii this weekend. He likes playing console games with his big brothers, but obviously Call of Duty isn't the best choice for a 5-year-old.
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My soon-to-be first-grader just got a new game for the Nintendo Wii this weekend. He likes playing console games with his big brothers, but obviously Call of Duty isn't the best choice for a 5-year-old. 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.

What do you think?

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