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Math anxiety is alive and well among U.S. kids, according to a new survey.
Wakefield Research conducted this survey with 400 children. The result? One in five believe they're more likely to grow up to become a professional athlete, actor or singer than they are to get As and Bs in math next year.
These results demonstrate that math remains perceived as a difficult but important skill. But increasing this skill -- and, therefore, confidence -- may be easier than trying to engage a student in the classroom. Video games have a stigma of promoting laziness ... or at least they did, until the Wii came along. Not only did this particular system get kids to move their bodies while "golfing" and "bowling," among other sports, the Wii also has a video game that helps people improve their basic math abilities.
The Wii is also working its way into music classrooms, promoting creativity among students. How does it work? The Wii console's motion-sensing controls allow users at any experience level to step up and jam, whether playing solo or as part of a group. Using the wireless remote and nunchuk controllers, players make simple, intuitive movements to strum a guitar, play a trumpet or bang a drum.
"At any grade level, it's essential to provide students with the tools and encouragement they need to be creative," said John J. Mahlmann, executive director of MENC: The National Association for Music Education. "We look forward to collaborating with Nintendo to drive awareness and advocacy for music education through Wii Music."
Some teachers already have begun to incorporate Wii Music into their lesson plans.
"Wii Music has brought a renewed excitement to music class for students from first grade to fifth, myself and even some of the classroom teachers," said Helen A. Krofchick, a music teacher at Doby's Mill Elementary School in Lugoff, S.C. "I love how many music standards can be covered in such a short time. Students also have to use language skills, spatial awareness and hand-eye coordination. We have a school very supportive of the arts and Wii Music has empowered our program even more. Any system that is educational and can add a love of music to children's lives should be in every classroom."
Other collaborating and partner organizations currently include San Francisco's Blue Bear School of Music and New York's Opus 118 Harlem School of Music. Teachers in these programs will use Wii Music to build students' familiarity with technology while bolstering their ability to create and improvise. Experts in the field of music say getting kids interested in music at an early age can help build a lifelong appreciation.
"The joy of playing music is something that should be experienced by everyone, regardless of age, talent-level or experience," said Joe Lamond, President & CEO of National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM). "Research shows that more than 82 percent of people who don't currently play a musical instrument wish they did. Wii Music can help address this by providing a positive introduction for millions of people who might not otherwise be inclined to try."
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