Dancing at Public School Not Just About Prom Anymore

Michele should enjoy the following, since she’s from Hawaii. We’ve talked about Dance Dance Revolution here in the Fitness blog before. We’ve talked about the problems with not having enough physical education time in the schools. Today, I get to talk about both these subjects as Dance, Dance Revolution is about to become a part of public school physical education classes in Hawaii.

Taking the Initiative

The initiative is a part of the Hawaiian Department of Education’s emphasis on lifetime physical fitness over the more typical team sports. A verbal agreement was reached with Konami, the maker of Dance, Dance Revolution and schools in Hawaii will be permitted to use the software program at no charge.

Initially, DDR will be made available to high schools for the 2007-2008 academic school year. Ultimately, however, the department hopes to roll the initiative out to all 284 campuses within 3 years. Schools will have to come up with the hardware to support DDR, but most schools have access to televisions and game systems already.

Engaging Students

Kalama Intermediate on the island of Maui was one of the first schools to utilize DDR to get students up and moving. Their physical education instructor Leighton Nakamoto incorporated DDR in his school four years ago. He was also instrumental in getting the DDR initiative. Makawao, another campus in Hawaii, boasts balance boards, a climbing wall and Trikkes (human powered three wheeled scooters) all designed to engage students who may be more inclined to sit on the sidelines and watch team sports.

Leighton Nakamoto describes the experience as very positive:

Students are way more enthusiastic about P.E.; they’re excited to come to class.

According to studies, there are hundreds of schools in 10 different states using DDR as a part of their regular P.E. curriculum. The University of West Virginia published a study recently that found playing the DDR 30 minutes a day, five times a week improved general health, improved arterial function and blood flow in overweight children.

Changing Philosophies

As a nation, we have long been obsessed with team sports being the only option for school athletics. If you weren’t good at baseball, basketball, football or other team sport – then chances are, you didn’t bother to participate. The success of DDR and other fitness options allows students to compete against themselves, to feel better about themselves and to enjoy the benefits that increased physical education provides.

Change is hard for some schools and parents, because sports are traditional, but one of the drawbacks to traditional sports is that they have a habit of creating divisions – students who can, do and students who can’t, don’t or are excluded.

Does your school district use DDR?

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About Heather Long

Heather Long is 35 years old and currently lives in Wylie, Texas. She has been a freelance writer for six years. Her husband and she met while working together at America Online over ten years ago. They have a beautiful daughter who just turned five years old. She is learning to read and preparing for kindergarten in the fall. An author of more than 300 articles and 500+ web copy pieces, Heather has also written three books as a ghostwriter. Empty Canoe Publishing accepted a novel of her own. A former horse breeder, Heather used to get most of her exercise outside. In late 2004, early 2005 Heather started studying fitness full time in order to get herself back into shape. Heather worked with a personal trainer for six months and works out regularly. She enjoys shaking up her routine and checking out new exercises. Her current favorites are the treadmill (she walks up to 90 minutes daily) and doing yoga for stretching. She also performs strength training two to three times a week. Her goals include performing in a marathon such as the Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness or Team in Training for Lymphoma research. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience through the fitness and marriage blogs.