I’ve been meaning to write this ever since I heard about this product. First, let’s get something out of the way. I like to game. I am not a huge gamer but I really enjoy the time I get to plop down and dive headfirst into a video game. I think the idea of Nintendo Labo is awesome! If I had a Switch I may even be tempted to go ahead and purchase this.
I am talking from a school perspective. At first blush this may seem to tick a lot of boxes.
* STEAM related? CHECK
* Hands on? CHECK
* Engaging? CHECK
* Pretty darn fun? CHECK
I can see a lot of schools and outspoken teachers clamoring to purchase this. So I hate to rain on people’s parade but get your umbrellas ready.
Now consider how many game consoles you need to purchase. Now how many kits do you need to buy? That’s the big one. I picked the Variety Kit and not the Robot kit($80) because you could probably pair students up and have them build these interactive controllers. In the Variety Kit you get 5 different projects:
* RC Cars
* Fishing Rod
I can see groups of two tackling these projects in a class and they’re not terribly bulky, but if you do the math (and I know you did) that gives you an engaging and varied activity for 10 students. I guess you could stretch it to three but still that’s 15 students. Certainly most classes are larger than that. Then after they’re done you get to play the games.
Well with probably only one Switch in the room that means a lot of people standing around watching others explore their games and what they can do. Even if a teacher dedicates two whole classes over two days that probably gives you anywhere from 1–2.5 hours of game play with 20+ students. Then what? Do they sit on shelves and are used when students have free time? Do students get to take them home at some point?
Now comes the real problem. Maybe your school has the money to buy enough Switches and Kits. Maybe you have small classes and can dedicate enough time to getting kids ample playtime with these tools. Maybe you can solve these problems.
The kits (to my knowledge and if I’m wrong please let me know in the comments) cannot really be unfolded and reused. I supposed you could do that but we are talking about cardboard here. Often times taking something apart carefully can even more difficult that putting it together.
At any rate that’s why schools should pass. If you have a fairly small group of students and don’t mind buying more kits every year that perhaps consider it, but it seems a pretty costly investment for a small group of students.