The Nintendo DS isn't just fun and games anymore for English-language students at Tokyo's Joshi Gakuen all-girls junior high school. The portable video game console is now being used as a key teaching tool, breaking with traditional Japanese academic methods.


A giggly class of 32 seventh-graders used plastic pens to spell words such as "hamburger" and "cola" on the touch-panel screen--the key feature of the hit gaming console--following an electronic voice from the machine.


It's a sort of high-tech spelling bee. When the students got the spelling right, the word "good" popped up on the screen, and they went on to the

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