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Wii Fit

Jamie Gateau

Ashley Myers

Kaitlin Greig

Christy Pearre

Kacey Kahl

Frostburg State University, Spring 2009

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Have you ever heard people talk about how video games will rot your brain? How about playing too many video games are a bad thing? Well with advancing technology, gamers are starting to show how these statements are simply untrue. With the creation of Wii, the video game world got a much needed update. Wii has integrated movement into the video game world, whereas before playing a video game was down from the coach. Children are getting much needed exercise because of the Wii and now because of the Wii Fit. The Wii Fit was created to help diminish childhood obesity and help non active people become active. Wii Fit is so popular that schools are considering putting the game into the curriculum. The Wii offers a variety of different fitness exercises and encouragement to help people become active and healthy.

Wii is the newest gaming system from Nintendo. Unlike other Nintendo gaming systems, Wii is motion sensitive with an internal sensor bar that picks up the remotes signal. Any movement that is made in real life can be replicated on the Wii system. The remote is motion sensitive and can sense angle, tilt, direction, speed of movement, rotation, etc. Unlike other gaming systems, Wii has a home screen, or “start menu,” where the player can decide what they would like to do. Included on the home page are a disk channel (for games), photo channel, weather channel, news channel, and mii channel. Also included is a message board and inbox. The most interesting of the channels is the mii channel where players can create little characters to represent themselves in the Wii games.
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Many schools, especially middle schools, are using the Wii Fit for many educational tools. It is becoming more and more useful for teachers to incorporate their lessons using the Wii Fit. The Wii Fit is mostly popular in physical education classes because it deals with being in shape and exercising. Nancy Hudson wanted something different for her students at New Albany Middle School. “I wanted something that was a challenge for my students and something that would help them improve their social and motor skills,” she said (News Room, 2009). The video game system gets students up and moving around while having fun with their fellow classmates. It shows children that exercising can be fun and that it is important for their health. Some parents don’t agree with having a video game system in their own homes let alone in school but it is proving to be a success. Bernard Cohen, 13, tried lunges, skip jump and alpine skiing. "It's the coolest Wii game I've played," he said. "I don't have any game systems at home because my parents think I'll get addicted, but this one gives you a good workout" (Kaleem, 2008). Many children are learning to love to work out and eventually everyone will be in better shape because of the Wii Fit.The New Jersey Education Association has asked science teacher, Micheal A. Breslow, seven questions about how he was able to incorporate the Wii into his physics classroom. Breslow won the 2007 Vernier Technology Award for Innovative Use of Technology in the Classroom based upon his use of the Wii. Breslow took concepts like Velocity and momentum, which his students usually have trouble understanding, and was able to use the wii to help the students see these concepts in real life situations. Responses from the students, parents and faculty has been "overwhelmingly positive" and Breslow states that "If [he] knew how successful the Wii would be in [his] classroom, [he] would have purchased one a lot sooner!" (Breslow, 2006) David Brantely, a first-grade teacher at Cumberland Elementary School, made up score cards for students to practice skills such as data recording, while playing Wii bowling and baseball. Branely's fellow teachers, Mary Ford & Laura Smith, use the Wii bowling for real-life math activities in their classrooms. Schools, like in New York, have a hard time keeping their students physically moving during the winter months. The weather is to cold and wet for students to have PE outside of the school building. These schools are looking to Wii to help get the children some exercise. The program was originally for special needs children but has expanded as a reward system for good behavior, excellent grades, and others. These schools are being funded to purchase these fitness programs/games. The teachers are using these games as a motivator and to “burn calories” in the winter months. This is a way for teachers to engage their students, and State officials “seem receptive” to this new form of education and exercise.
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Although Wii Fit can be a very useful tool in the classroom, there are a few flaws. Wii Fit can be hard on children’s self esteem. It can place children in the fat category who in reality, are not fa t. The BMI on the game may be incorrect and inaccurately categorize children. A child can be very hurt by what Wii fit is saying about their bodies. It could be humiliating if Wii Fit tells a child they are fat, especially if the whole class is watching (Mail Online, 2009).Children are thinking that Wii Fit can be their only form of ex ercise, but that should not be the case. Although this can give you a very good workout, it should not be your only form of movement throughout the day. These games should not completely replace all physical activity (Dryden, 2008). Overall Wii Fit is a very good educational tool, it does have some fall backs.
With some kinks that still need to be worked out, Wii Fit is a game well beyond its years. It has imp acted people both physically and mentally. It has allowed die hard gamers and average Joes to get a workout, even if it is just a small work out. The game has allowed people to see how out of shape they are, even though for children it is inaccurate. This game one day may save the lives of many people because it may encourage people to get into shape and take care of their bodies.
Frostburg State University, Spring 2009

Work Cited-

Bruder, P. (2008, April). Wii play -- they learn. New Jersey Educatio n Association Review. Retrieved January 28, 2009 from http://www.njea.org/page.aspx?a=3657

Dryden, C. (2008. June). Wii Fit is a fun fitness tool with flaws. IdahoStateman.com. Retrieved January 28, 2009 from http://www.idahostatesman.com/entertainment/story/410028.html

Good, O. (2009, January). Wii helping snowbound schools make P.E. fun. Kotaku. Retrieved January 28, 2009 from http://kotaku.com/5133690/wii-helping-snowbound-schools-make-pe-fun

Kaleem, J. (2008, June). Wii Fit: Will the new fitness game get gamers off the couch? The Miami Herald. Retrieved January 28, 2009 from http://bulletin.aarp.org/yourhealth/healthyliving/articles/wii_fit_will_the_new_fitness_game_get_gamers_off_the_couch.html

Mail Online. (2008, May). Obesity experts condemn Ninentdo’s Wii ‘Fit’ game after it tells 10-year old girl she’s fat. Mail Online. Retrieved February 9, 2009 from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-566754/Obesity-experts-condemn-Nintendos-Wii-Fit-game-tells-10-year-old-girl-shes-fat.html

News Room. (2009, January). Middle school students enjoy Wii in physical education class. News Room. School News. Retrieved January 28, 2009 from http://www.newalbanyschools.us/newsroom/?p=253

NJEA. (2006). Seventh-grade science teacher uses Wii in the classroom. New Jersey Education Association. Retrieved January 28, 2009 from http://www.njea.org/page.aspx?a=3631.