Don’t buy Nintendo Labo

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.

Cost

Here is what you need and the costs associated with them:
* Nintendo Switch – $300
* Nintendo Labo Variety Kit – $70

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
* House
* Motorbike
* Piano

Use

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?

Re-use

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.

Episode 124 – “Schank” Education

124

This episode, Dave, Tony and Patrick talk about Roger Schank’s approach to education, Nintendo’s gaming workshop for kids and the Adidas tracker that is making its way into classrooms. Check out the talking points below.

As always be sure to subscribe to us on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app and follow us on Podomatic.

Pragmatic Learning: It’s not “fun” by Roger Schank of the blog Education Outrage
a. Link: http://educationoutrage.blogspot.com/2016/03/pragmatic-learning-its-not-fun.html
b. This is a long article
c. Stop building courses and create courses
d. Learning when learning is needed
e. Training is not fun
f. Dan Meyer’s TedTalk:http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_meyer_math_curriculum_makeover

Nintendo partners with SF public library to teach kids about game design by Andrew Webster from The Verge
a. Link: http://www.theverge.com/2016/3/31/11327140/nintendo-super-mario-maker-education-sfpl
b. Consumer to creators
c. How can schools do this?
d. Resources needed?

US schools may soon be testing Adidas’ new fitness tracker in K-12 schools by Samantha Murphy Kelly of Mashable
a. Link: http://mashable.com/2016/04/06/adidas-fitness-tracker-gym-class-students/#z7O_oBBgXPqJ
b. Interactive Health Technologies: https://ihtusa.com/
c. Really?
d. 140% increase in engagement in PE classes
e. Turning this into grades?

You can download the MP3 file HERE!