The days of exercise books may well be numbered with Xbox game consoles now being used at school.
But don't worry parents those behind the project claim it will only make your child smarter.
More than 100 students from three Waikato schools picked up Xbox game controllers and plugged into the internet at Hamilton's Southwell School on Wednesday, part of a new Microsoft initiative which sees students use the gaming platforms to learn skills such as group collaboration and problem solving.
"People are realising there really is education here (with the games program), instead of backing off and saying that is just what happens at home," project director Dave Winter said.
The students, from Southwell School, St Andrew's Middle School and Cambridge Middle School, were split into four-person teams on 15 Xbox consoles, to play Viva Pinata, a simulation game which sees gamers maintain a "garden" by planting plants and trees with the ultimate aim of attracting hybrid animals or "pinata" to the garden.
The teams involved one student acting as the gamer, another as a "watcher," while a third acted as an internet researcher and a fourth blogged on the group's progress.
Mr Winter said it took a while for some of the teachers to adapt to the program, but now all were behind it.
"There's a saying that a teacher that thinks technology will put them out of a job will be out of a job."
Southwell's Cade Fleming, 13, was thoroughly enjoying his turn on the controller, planting a tree and attracting a new pinata.
Cade, who doesn't have a game console at home, reckons his parents didn't mind the fact he would be playing video games at school because he was learning.
"They know it's for learning," he said. "With this game we are learning our key competencies like group participation."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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