Video game, set, match: Schools take to the virtual sporting world | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Video game, set, match: Schools take to the virtual sporting world

At Universal High School in Malad, as one class comes to an end and another is set to begin, the restless energy and twitching muscles are transformed into something else – a gaming console. Bhavya Dore reports.

mumbai Updated: Jun 23, 2012 00:22 IST
Bhavya Dore

At Universal High School in Malad, as one class comes to an end and another is set to begin, the restless energy and twitching muscles are transformed into something else – a gaming console.


The teacher’s potential enemy, the distracting, high-octane gadget that simulates various sports on a widescreen projection, is at this school an ally to be welcomed. For the past three years, students across classes have spent the time between classes playing games on the consoles such as the Wii and the X Box, which serves as a pleasant diversion for children and keeps them energised for the next lesson.

“We can play games in the classroom itself, without going out,” said Varija Doshi, 11, a Class 6 student at the school.

“It’s productive to play in between periods, especially in the monsoon, when you can’t play outside,” said Zarin Virji, principal of the school. “Nothing can replace the outdoors, but it’s a good stopgap measure.”

Concerns over short attention spans and virtual gaming addictions apart, schools are now enthusiastically embracing simulated sporting technology during school hours, especially in a city like Mumbai where shortage of space make it difficult for every student to have access to sprawling campuses with great outdoor sporting facilities At JBCN International School, Parel, the Wii will make its debut when the school reopens for its new term in July. A special room is in the works and students from Class 1 and above will be allowed to use it in specific time slots. “We want to introduce it for relaxation,” said Pinky Dalal, the school’s chairperson. “It helps build coordination, concentration and to get the right stroke and action,” she said.

These virtual gaming scenarios are not just useful distractions for students, something they can look forward to in school hours, but also work as potential rewards and are particularly handy when the indoor area is the only one available for any sort of exercise.

Three years ago, NES International School in Mulund introduced the optic golf machine, which enables children in a 500 sq ft room to envision themselves in an expansive golf course, through screen projections. “It’s quite niche and it’s considered an elite sport so we thought, why not introduce it?” said V Balasubramanian, the school’s director.

Schools claimed they bore the cost of these applications and passed none of these on to the students. “The management pays for the maintenance of the machine and students don’t have to pay anything,” said Balasubramanian.