Junior high schools in Kyoto, Japan recently reported a sharp improvement in English language skills thanks to the Nintendo DS. The Yawata Municipal Board of Education distributed DS systems with copies of Chuugaku Eitango Target 1800 DS, an English training program, to English classes across the district's schools. Over the course of five months, students' vocabulary increased between 300 and 400 words, bumping them up to the equivalent of level 3 in the Eiken Test in Practical English Proficiency held by only 30% of junior high school students in Japan.
Nintendo has long touted the non-gaming possibilities of the touch screen-enabled system. It seems Japan is the only region to benefit from these edutainment programs, however. Would language training software fly in Europe or the States? How about DS yoga lessons and gardening tips?