Wii gaming on an IWB in a French Class

Finally got around to writing about a class I worked with a few weeks ago. This was a year 7 group, French class. The teacher wanted to try something different with her class and use a Nintendo Wii with them.

First we rigged up the Wii. There were sockets next to the whiteboard where we could plug in the red/yellow/white video leads in so that the projector would show the image from the Wii on the SMARTboard. We rested the Wii infra red bar on the SMARTboard and held it in place with a blob of blu-tack. In the settings on the Wii we changed the language to French (we also tried this later in Spanish and Italian).

Using a Wii in MFL class on a smartboard

The game we played was Big Brain Academy as that had plenty of scope for following instructions and basic comprehension (more so than Mario Kart!). We set up 4 players on the game – two generic boy and two generic girl avatars. It was easier than trying to create avatars for the whole class. We then played the game in teams – 2 vs 2 at a time, and later 4 vs 4 as time got tight.

While one group were playing at the board, the rest of the class were working on other tasks – including some of them using French Tutor on Nintendo DS’s.

Using a Wii in MFL

The class really enjoyed playing the games – and they soon began to work out what the different buttons and instructions meant.

If you have access to a Wii in school, do try it out.

If you have done this with a class – let me know how it went in the comments below!

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Author: Danny Nicholson

Danny is an author, Science teacher, ICT Consultant, PGCE lecturer and computing / interactive whiteboard trainer. He has delivered training courses across the UK, in Europe, and in Canada. Please get in touch with your training requests.

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4 Comments

  1. If you already have a Nintendo Wii Controller at school (you might, if you built your own wiimote whiteboard)and own some Wii games, you could try using the “dolphin” wii emulation software. So you wouldn’t have to borrow one from somewhere.

    Computer games can be pretty exciting for teaching foreign languages – as an ESL/EFL- teacher in Germany I also try to use them now and then.

    I once tried even Dance Mats in connection with a projector – that also was great fun. Oh, and Karaoke Evenings with an old Playstation are just plain great. “Y-M-C-… “

  2. Very interesting article! I can’t wait to try.
    Have you used an Australian version of Brain Academy though? And if so, can you just change the language of the whole game?

  3. @Clemence – the language setting is on the main Wii menu rather than the game one – so it changes the language of any game.

    I don’t know if there are differences between the European/Australian versions of the Wii… can anyone help?

  4. It would be great to get the vocabulary set of all the words and sentence construction in this superb WII game. You could use it to teach or as homework. Brain Academy is a nice but above all very educational game when used as language enhancer. Great idea.

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