Tech steps into physical education
April 30th, 2007

Over a lot of years there have been policy folks in education for whom their reaction to teaching by technology has been a knee-jerk “no.” Recently, technology has been coming in the gym doors to do some physical education. There is an article today in the New York Times that describes how a video game called Dance Dance Revolution is bringing fun and fitness into school gyms:

In they rushed, past the Ping-Pong table, past the balance beams and the wrestling mats stacked unused. They sprinted past the ghosts of Gym Class Past toward two TV sets looming over square plastic mats on the floor. In less than a minute a dozen seventh graders were dancing in furiously kinetic union to the thumps of a techno song called ‘Speed Over Beethoven.’

Bill Hines, a physical education teacher at the school for 27 years, shook his head a little, smiled and said, ‘I’ll tell you one thing: they don’t run in here like that for basketball.’

It is a scene being repeated across the country as schools deploy the blood-pumping video game Dance Dance Revolution as the latest weapon in the nation’s battle against the epidemic of childhood obesity. While traditional video games are often criticized for contributing to the expanding waistlines of the nation’s children, at least several hundred schools in at least 10 states are now using Dance Dance Revolution, or D.D.R., as a regular part of their physical education curriculum.


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