The Grumpy Giraffe

Critiques on social and education issues

$99 game consoles; revolutionize learning into gaming

Ouya (OO-yah) is an Android-powered game console that costs $99, and all games will be free to play (demo or full-game). It allows you play popular mobile games (and I suppose other new games would be developed too) on a TV screen, under the belief that TV screens are still the best screens to play games on.

So let’s see, cheap console, free to play games and it already has $4.5 million funding behind it. This sounds like a pretty good plan for a new educational initiative to really revolutionize learning.

Below are the hardware specs:

  • Quad-core Tegra 3 processor
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 8 GB of flash storage
  • HDMI and USB 2.0 ports
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Android 4.0

If schools follow up on this console, which is supposed to be available in March 2013, then a new educational initiative could be planned for this.

Remember when I mentioned that the popular Portal 2 will be free for teachers due to Steam starting up a Teach with Portals initiative? I’m expecting something similar to happen with Ouya.

Of course, Steam offers ridiculously low prices (pretty much 90% off any game’s retailer price, so you’re paying like $5 for a whole series or set), but think of owning a $99 game console with all the games being free! That means that you’d only be paying $99, and that would be it! Keep in mind that some are just demo versions, and some are full-game ones with level/upgrade packs you can buy.

But really, I think that school boards should look into Ouya. The specs are good, the product has $4.5 million backing it up, and there’s 26 more days until the funding ends, so just imagine its availability. Below is a video explaining the thinking behind Ouya.

So I really hope that school boards look into this. I know I had previously said in my Smartboard post that technology should not be expected to revolutionize pedagogy, and I feel like I should take that back.

Ouya can bring students together and engage them in a fun and vibrant learning environment. Gaming encourages transferable skills like teamwork, prioritizing, decision-making, problem-solving, critical thinking, etc. in a fun environment. Studies have shown that people who game exercise more of their higher order faculties.

If you’re in the field of education, I strongly recommend talking to your colleagues about the gaming pedagogy, particularly in regards to Steam and Ouya. I really feel like that a new educational initiative can be taken up with Ouya, and it will turn out fabulous. Not only is it ridiculously cheaper than the dominant companies like Playstation, Xbox and Wii, its games are free to play.

Technology integration in the classroom is always a plus. Do remember that not everything requires a screen, though. Chart paper and marker are also good mediums to use in the classroom.

But really, Ouya looks pretty good right now. $99 and free games? I think I sense a new pedagogy cooking.


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This entry was posted on July 13, 2012 by in education, school, teaching and tagged , , , .


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