Fitness (Video Link): Dance Dance Revolution Encourages Physical Education Participation

Fitness (Video Link):
Dance Dance Revolution Encourages Physical Education Participation

Dixie Iverson

Physical education teachers all over the U.S. and Canada are finding ways to incorporate the video game Dance Dance Revolution into their classes. It provides motivation and encouragement for even the most reluctant students.

How it Works in a PE Class
Dance Dance Revolution is an interactive game that is played on the Sony PlayStation 2 platform. It is like several similar video games in that it requires full-body participation, but it works better in a classroom situation than most. Many such games, like those for Nintendo Wii, for example, allow only one or two players to be involved at a time.

Dance Dance Revolution uses a mat containing sensors, that is placed on the floor. Students dance on the mat while watching the video monitor that shows them how to move their feet in time to the music. Correct movements fill up the on-screen "dance gauge" and incorrect steps will eventually result in the game's end.

One teacher who successfully uses the game in a PE classroom sets up the system as a station with three monitors and dance mats. Six students typically use the station at one time. Those who are not dancing on the electronic mats can practice using teacher-made mats fashioned from carpet remnants and tape. Sometimes those who are waiting their turn use jump ropes or stationary bikes in order to stay active throughout the period.

Since most kids consider Dance Dance Revolution and similar games to be "cool," even those who resist physical activity find that DDR gives them the motivation to move. Teachers report that boys and girls are equally responsive to the lessons and their most reluctant students will take part willingly.

A recent report in the New York Times indicates that more than 1500 schools across the US will be using Dance Dance Revolution by the end of next year. Educators consider it a valuable tool in the fight against childhood obesity.

Pointers for Use
Teachers who are familiar with the video game recommend using the Disney version for elementary students because the music has widespread appeal. In some schools, time with the dance game is given as a reward for good behavior.

Instructors and administrators have been successful in acquiring federal and state grants, which help to offset the cost of buying the necessary equipment for the game.

Dance Dance Revolution Video
Here's a video showing Dance, Dance Revolution being used in an elementary school physical education class.

1. Ross Dolan, National Trend of Video-Game Fitness Classes Hits Mitchell. Daily Republic
2. Sandy Hopkins, Electronic Games Spark Physical Activity, Education World April 15, 2008.
3. Bonnie Lee, Fun and Games, American Fitness January/February 2008.

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