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Game on: Nintendo Switch Is Coming to Elementary School Classrooms

The Nintendo Switch has proved to be a massive success since it launched last year. Now, the Switch is preparing to invade classrooms as well.

A new partnership between Nintendo and education-focused non-profit Institute of Play is bringing Nintendo Labo to schools in the New York area for a pilot program. Nintendo’s Labo kits allow users to make creations like musical instruments, a fishing rod, and a clock from cardboard. The creations, called Toy-Cons, work with the Switch and will be the focus of the new pilot program. The kits will be used to enhance skills including communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving, according to a joint statement from Nintendo and Institute of Play.

Both groups are planning on expanding the program to approximately 100 schools throughout the U.S. for the 2018 to 2019 school year following the pilot. This larger program is expected to reach 2,000 students between the ages of 8 and 11.

“The ingenuity of Nintendo Switch brings Nintendo Labo to life to provide a fun way for kids to explore basic STEAM topics together and be entertained while building a fundamental understanding of the technology behind them. We hope our programs in the United States and Canada encourage kids to explore, tinker, problem-solve and, in the process, get excited about design and technology—all while having fun,” Nintendo of America president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime writes in a statement.

The curriculum was developed by the Institute of Play, which is made up of educators, school leaders, researchers, and game designers, and focuses on developing programs centered around “play-based learning.”

“We are always on the lookout for new tools and technologies that combine the best of learning with the spirit of play, and in Nintendo Labo we found an inspiring and innovative approach in both areas,” Arana Shapiro, co-executive director of the Institute of Play writes in a statement. “Teachers in the pilot program are already seeing the natural fit for Nintendo Labo in the classroom, and now we can bring that dynamic to schools across the country.”