Nintendo just announced its latest iteration on the DS handheld gaming device. Called the DSi, it's receiving plenty of attention from bloggers, gamers, and at least two of my kids (one is a diehard PSP fan, although he'd really just rather have an iPhone and the other is 16 and looks down his nose at mere handheld game systems).
However, a few things caught my eye that might make the DSi a bit more appealing for educational purposes. It has built in wifi (so did the last-generation DS), but now has a built-in web browser and nearly Apple-style App Store. It's also larger and more capable in terms of multimedia. According to Ars Technica,
The DSi will also come with software allowing you to play with your images and to slow or speed up audio files. While these things may sound more like toys than anything else, it could make the system popular among people learning new languages or practicing playing along to their favorite music. The interface for these features appears easy to use, even playful.
Audiobooks, anyone? Cheap MIDs? Interactive response system? Imagine if a few educationally-minded developers posted free or low-cost educational games on the App Store. Although I have to say that I really see the Android as a serious potential tool for education, this could be another way to get a lot of kids online quickly, especially if the browser and other applications can be spiffed up by motivated developers.