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Wii woos the PE dodgers

PUBLISHED: 10:43 05 November 2009 | UPDATED: 11:11 23 August 2010

FIRST CLASS: Northfleet Technology College students

FIRST CLASS: Northfleet Technology College students

SORRY, Sir, I ve forgotten my kit and I ve got a note, I can t do PE today have been used a million times to skip dreaded gym sessions. But skiving pupils at one school are falling back in love with the lesson as teachers introduce Nintendo Wii s - c

SORRY, Sir, I've forgotten my kit" and "I've got a note, I can't do PE today" have been used a million times to skip dreaded gym sessions.

But skiving pupils at one school are falling back in love with the lesson as teachers introduce Nintendo Wii's - consoles fitted with a fitness programme - as an alternative to the traditional lesson.

The sports department at Northfleet Technology College, in Colyer Road, Northfleet, has four of the consoles, each with two controllers and Wii Fit board, for students.

Head of Wii fitness class Aaron Brown, 27, said: "They are great to use as a carrot to get lads disaffected with PE back into enjoying exercise.

"We start them off with two lessons and then reduce it to one, which they only get if they take part in outdoor lessons.

"It has been great seeing boys enjoying exercise again even if it is through a non-traditional medium, and some of the games are quite demanding."

Students are initially encouraged to use the Wii Sport package of tennis, bowling and baseball, which means they have to act out the movements associated with the sport.

Teachers claim it helps pupils become active and develops social interaction skills with other students by taking part in team sports.

Gradually pupils are introduced to Wii Fit, experimenting with balance, muscle, yoga and aerobic exercises. They are also encouraged to set up their Mii (Wii character) to use on the programme.

Other students are encouraged to join in by placing mats alongside the console users and taking part in the exercises with them.

Staff plan to build on this method by buying Mario and Sonic's Olympics - a fitting choice, given the 1,000-day countdown for London 2012 at the weekend - Wii Fitness Coach and Wii Sports Resort.

More controllers will be bought to allow four pupils on each console at the same time.

A school newsletter featuring the new scheme reads: "Not only does this give students team players to work out with, but it also aids motivation as none of the boys like to be outdone!

"The main aim of the whole experiment was to get students enjoying their PE lessons again and so far it seems to be working."

Mr Brown added: "As a PE teacher I would say computers do go some way to reducing activity levels but the Wii does have the benefit of increasing movement.

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