Forum Friday – Playing Games or Learning Online?

WiiEvery Friday I share a noteworthy resource or discussion from the Tech Savvy Ed Forum with a wider audience. Why? Because there’s just so much goodness there to share that goes unnoticed. This week I thought I’d have a bit of fun, since it’s the end of the school year for me. I spent most of the day hopping in and out of classrooms to say goodbye to students, attend parties, and play a few videogames with a few teachers that had “game day” today. Since there are many students and teachers that game, I thought I’d share a post by Falconphysics (aka Steve). Apparently Steve is a gamer, as am I, and with the advent of smaller, more powerful, wifi connected gaming devices, it’s only a matter of time before teachers start taking advantage of them for use in the classroom.

I just got the newly released Opera browser for my Nintendo DS, so I thought I’d put it through its paces.

So far I’ve managed to check my gmail, digg, and google search. I was dissapointed to find that google docs doesn’t work.

It’s much slower than actually surfing on a computer, but not unbearable. I suppose I’ll have to try blogging from it next.

DSFor those unfamiliar with the Nintendo DS, it’s a rather ingenious portable game system that uses two screens (one of them touch sensitive) to give gamers a sense of interaction with the game. Also available for the system is a chat program via wireless connections, and other PDA-like functionality using the touch screen and the stylus it comes with. What Steve is referring to is the brand new Internet browser that just came out for the device, allowing anyone with a wifi connection to browse the Internet. While there are many educators out there right now screaming”Foul!” and “Never in my classroom!” I’m really sold on Steve Dembo’s idea of Mobile Learning Redefined. If parents are willing to spend the money to put these type of powerful Internet-ready devices in the hands of our students, why shouldn’t we capitalize on that, and use the devices in our classrooms rather than cross our fingers and hope for the two dusty student machines in the corner to work, or to fight for time in the computer lab. Now, I’m fortunate to have a district with wonderful machines, but I know many that don’t, and this is something that could not only serve as a viable alternative, but also provide a huge level of engagement for the students.

Since pictures and video speak louder than words, I’ve embedded a YouTube video demonstrating just how remarkable the browser is. And no, that’s not me in the video. Sorry if it’s blocked at your school 🙁

Images from FlickrCC


  1. You lost me when I discovered that there was “no flash support”.

    It seems slow (yeah i know its a ds. Can it run faster? Can the browser connect to a local network? eg Home wifi setup?

    Interesting potential, especially if user can connect directly to a school network. (using existing credential of course)

    Thanks for the demo.

  2. I have a DS and I’ve often wondered if there was some way this device could be used in schools, especially now that there is a web browser for it. I think the DS has a lot of potential for education, and not just in web browsers and wifi connections but with games as well. Games like Brain Age or Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney require more thinking and organization skills than most games, but aren’t as complicated as something like an RPG. Nintendo is so innovative with its technology that it would be great to see some Nintendo-made technology for schools, whether it be the DS or something new.

  3. Nice read!. Your topic about Forum Friday – Playing Games or Learning Online? needs more comments. I’d like to spend me Monday nights reading about how to run faster

  4. I strongly agree we should take advantage of these tools. There are issues that not everyone has them or can afford them and questions of whether or not the ds is the right tool for the job, but it could be.

    There could be a long term disadvantage of children of a ‘game learning’ age grow up with no interest to learn unless things are entertaining, but we should certainly try it and see.

    The games used though should involve some very clever and innovative concepts. I don’t think it’s a great idea to simply take a fun little game idea and throw some math problems in here and there. An old dos game called Operation Neptune comes to mind. On a large scale learning process I don’t think that’s what we should be aiming for. I can imagine that learning physics could be a whole lot more fun and make a whole lot more sense with 3D game style demonstrations. I hope this doesn’t end up replacing real life lab exercises though.

    Cliff, strong supporter of the elearning evolution.

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