I was just reading Scott McLeod’s blog, Dangerously Irrelevant. He shared a video that was a compilation of kids opening their Wii Christmas presents. The unique thing about these clips is the incredibly over-stated show of emotion. Girls are crying and dancing and screaming. Boys are driving their fists into the air and shouting. They were obviously enthused!!!!
Dr. McLeod explained this as an intersection of commercialism and children. Some of his readers lamented upon how ashamed they were to see the effects of commercialism on Christmas. These were obvious conclusions but not necessarily the only ones.
I don’t fully agree with their analyses of the weeping wailers as they screamed, cried and drove their fists into the air in celebration of receiving the Wii video game system. While this video definitely portrays a commercial product that the kids saw on TV commercials that were designed to place the Wii on a holy pedestal to be revered by our digital natives, these reactions are not just a matter of rampant commercialism.
I think that they signify fulfillment of their wishes to have personal access to an environment where their efforts are positively reinforced in an incremental manner that guides them to success. The games were developed to motivate and reward – and they succeed.Image via Wikipedia
I must admit that I have a Wii and I have been using the Wii Fit system for about 10 days. I am TOTALLY HOOKED! I awaken in the morning thinking about weather I will jog or dance or meditate on my Wii. As the system boots up and I identify myself, my cybercoach congratulates me on returning for another hour of physical challenges and accomplishments. . . . and yes, daily I do most of the exercises shown in the Nintendo Wii Fit kick-off video. (Here is an example of the Wii fit exercise session with a cybercoach.)
Besides the the arcade accolades that I receive as I head soccer balls, navigate bubbles down rivers, walk tightropes and spin hula hoops, I have experienced physical developments that benefit my posture and overall well being. I have a great time using my Wii and it makes me feel successful.
The part of our culture that we should question is not commercialism. We should ask why don’t all of our students feel this way on their first day of school? How many of them punched the air with excitement as they left their homes to return to school this week? Some of them did and we should identify what their teachers are doing to provide them with the sense of success that invites them back for more.
We should take a lesson in motivation and engagement from Wii and integrate it into our classrooms.
What do you think? Do you used the Wii? Do your students?
Leave a comment and keep the discussion going.