Kahori Sakane has an article in the Daily Yomiuri about schools giving students Nintendo DS handheld game consoles with specially designed vocabulary study software and providing them with time in class to use them. Even better, the schools seem to have done some research into the effectiveness (not well controlled, admittedly) and the students' reactions. It turns out they like it.
Actually this isn't all that surprising. We had similar success with a Mac program called Vocab (which is still free, but seems to have been forgotten by its developers) and its companion Vocab Scheduler back in the late 90s at the Tokyo high school where I taught. The benefit of this new program is that the consoles are a whole lot cheaper than computers, teachers don't need any computer savvy to run them, and they can be moved around from class to class.
Of course, you need to be studying the right words, good content (definitions, translations, example sentences, etc.) and well-established review regime, but I think this is certainly a useful intervention. Even better would be to deploy a version that works with learners' cell phones.
More about vocabulary here, here, and here.
Link courtesy of David Paul at ETJ.