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DSi and Games Based Learning – some more

Last week I asked my pupils  to bring in their Nintendo DS games consoles in to lessons and some of them did this week. On Tuesday, my small (3) group of pupils (all identified as having SpLD) used them to play a spelling game using the Pictochat feature. I gave 1 pupil a word to give another (ck endings in this case), the pupil wrote it down and zapped it into the Pictochat screen. The asker then copied the word and also zapped it into the screen. All the pupils could then see if the spelling was correct. The next pupil took his turn and so it went on. The pupils reviewed and acknowledged success and helped correct inaccuracies with not so much a sense of ‘that’s wrong’, more of a ‘it’s right this time’ positivity. I felt a great satisfaction from removing myself from the scene once they were up and running, the pupils’ motivation and engagement in the task was, to say the least, intense.

Obviously the same task could be done with pencil and paper, but I firmly believe the fact they were holding these little boxes increased their participation and sense of  ‘flow’ in an activity that I had previously not witnessed. As only one pupil had brought his in, the other two said they had lost theirs ‘in the house somewhere’. It will be fantastic if they find them for next week!

There was a similar pattern to lessons on Wednesday, but today was probably the most exciting development.

H, (am keeping her anonymity for the time being, hopefully the PTB will assent that I can start these pupils blogging asap but there appears to be some red-tape to pass through first….) is a year seven pupil I have taught since September. She is very timid, almost an elective mute, rarely speaking but reads quite well albeit barely audibly.

The week before last she asked were we bringing our DS’s in? I said yes but last week the whole school was on ‘theme day’ so I didn’t have any pupils. This week, the other pupil who attends with her was absent. She  had been learning spellings with the ‘or’ letter pattern and sat down and immediately got her DS out and fired it up. I noticed a picture of a hamster on her start-up screen. She wrote this with no prompting;-

H1 (Medium)

As well as the dialogue on the DS she appeared hugely more animated than usual, and as we started checking her  ‘or’ spellings  this then appeared.

H2 (Medium)

And smiled, this sense of humour had never revealed itself before, the spelling dialogue continued. Here are some more images of the screen towards the end of the lesson.

H3 (Medium)

I used the opportunity to correct some High Frequency spellings which she then altered, each time noticing what the mistake was.

H4 (Medium)

This final screen I think illustrates the power that this little box could have on her learning.

H5 (Medium)

I couldn’t help being genuinely flabbergasted by the amount of interaction, intensity and motivated engagement she showed in the activity. This was the first time I had used the DS with this pupil. The multi-modality of the communication, both her increased speaking, and the dialogue via the DS was quite extraordinary in comparison with previous lessons.

To witness a pupil using the entertainment technology they use everyday to enhance their learning, was possibly never more powerfully apparent to me than today.

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2 Responses

  1. What a great story. I guess I could try to encourage reluctant writes to express themselves with a mobile in the absence of a DS.
    Thanks

    • Thanks Hilery. Yes you could, there are free drawing apps too that could be used instead of the keypad to write single words at least, depends on your phone system but it acts a bit like a salt/sand tray.

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