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Nintendo DS consoles introduced in English lessons at schools in Kyoto
YAWATA, Kyoto -- The Yawata Municipal Board of Education has introduced Nintendo DS game consoles in English lessons at junior high schools following tests showing that the devices helped boost students' English vocabulary.
The education board introduced the consoles in second-year English classes in all four of the city's municipal junior high schools on Monday.
When Nintendo DS consoles were handed to third-year junior high school students as part of an experiment using English vocabulary training software, the students' English vocabulary increased by an average of about 40 percent over five months.
Makoto Ikeda, an associate professor in English literature at Sophia University, said the results of the test were impressive.
"The students attained a level equivalent to level 3 in the Eiken Test in Practical English Proficiency, which is held by only 30 percent of junior high school students nationwide. The results are impressive," Ikeda said.
Municipal education board officials said the students used the software "Chuugaku Eitango Target 1800 DS," which was produced by IE Institute, a developer and retailer of educational software, after an education board official suggested the idea three years ago.
To investigate the software's effectiveness, officials gave it to 49 students at a junior high school in the city, and split them into two groups, who played it on Nintendo DS consoles for about 10 minutes at the beginning of lessons.
When one group of 24 students used the software, their vocabulary increased from an average of 1,025 words to 1,386 words, a 35.2 percent rise. Another group of 25 students went from an average of 1,013 words to 1,436 words, a 41.8 percent increase.
Students are expected to have a vocabulary of about 1,300 words for level 3 of the Eiken Test in Practical English Proficiency. (Mainichi)