Wii U being used in the SMILE room

Photo of Myst in a SMILE room

Minecraft 3D

Xbox 360 Kinetics

Video Games

The idea of using video games in schools may sound a little strange, after all aren’t our children meant to be spending too much time playing them? But the benefits if used correctly can be great.

Nintendo Wii’s have been used in schools for years now, mainly due to physical aspects of their use. But as well physical education they are a wonderful resource, we are always looking for new ways to promote sharing and team work among students and with the use of the balance board children can be helped with hand eye coordination and balance.

Trying to keep children engaged in projects requires a lot of creative imagine from the staff, this is where computer games can help. As the SMILE room uses a Wii as well as a high powered PC we can use games to help children engage and think creatively.

Many years ago games like Myst were looked at for creative writing, Myst’s stunning world allowing free exploration of imaginative environments, due to their interactivity many different creative starting points could be found.

Moving to the present, the use of games in the classroom is common place for reading, spelling and mathematics, but can be used for so much more. Using the SMILE room for games such as Endless Ocean and Safari on the Wii is a great complement to projects, using games like this allows interaction from pupils while exploring environments and learning about animals.

With the huge success of a game called Minecraft in which you get to build your own worlds using a mixture of blocks, children have shown what a creative resource this can be by themselves, if you look online you will be able to seen thousands of models and worlds that have been created. This can be an amazing resource to bring into the SMILE room and the classroom, allowing the children's imagination to flow in an unrestricted way, gone are the days of running out of Lego, or not having the right pieces now the only limit is imagination. With recent updates we have seen 3D added to the package and touch screen compatibility too.

We have talked on the interactions page about “Kinetics for Windows” but of course this was originally developed for the Xbox 360, a games systems using Kinetics sensor to play games using your whole body, yes you are right this would be perfect for the SMILE room on a super large screen. With the rumoured release of a new Xbox at the end of 2013 we will be looking at what games system we will include or which games systems we will include as the SMILE room project progresses. For now please have a look at the below Xbox 360 Kinetics demo reel (looks really exciting, so much so we may need to stop the staff from playing on it!)


Xbox 360 Kinetic demo reel

Wii Safari Game

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SMILE room Project - 27 Cresswell Drive, Hilperton, Trowbridge, Wiltshire BA14 7TN
E: smile@bythegate.com