Jan 29, 2009

Tech - Now, videogames to teach music in school

Guryaman Walia enters his classroom, but instead of a blackboard, an LCD television and a gaming console confront the eight-year-old. This is part of his virtual music class.

In an attempt to break away from traditional teaching techniques, a school in Mumbai's Malad has introduced videogaming as part of their curriculum from Class 3 to 5. They have introduced the Nintendo Wii - an interactive gaming console with motion sensors.

The Wii is part of their physical education and music classes. The console allows a child to play games like tennis, bowling and baseball.

For example, if a child wants to play a backhand in tennis, his physica action will be picked up by the motion sensor in the game and the ball will move likewise. It is the same with guitar and drums.

"We have to keep up with the generation and we wanted to make school a fun experience. The class is once a week, so it is an experience they look forward to.

Their attitude to school has changed," said Zarin Virji, principal of Universal High School, which is affiliated to ICSE board. The board allows flexible curriculum and methods of teaching till Class 8.

"Also, this will help judge a child's inclination towards the actual sport or musical instrument and encourage him to take it up", said Virji. Parents, after the initial shock, are now excited about the concept.

"I didn't even know what the Wii was, but I was a little taken aback at the concept of a videogame in school," said Guryaman's mother, Vandana. She then tried out the game and enjoyed it thoroughly.

"I saw the joy on my son's face when he played it and it is only for 30 minutes a week and these 30 minutes have made him love school" But educationists have their doubts. "If schools start allowing videogames, then parents can never refuse their children to have it at home.

It is only a matter of time before It becomes okay to play these games and they'll become like junk food", said educationist Arundhati Chavan.

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