Using Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) in Schools and the Classroom

UPDATE: We tested Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) in our classroom. Read our review on using DDR in the Classroom. 

M. Temchine, NY Times, 20070429I’ve decided that I’d like to experiment with Dance Dance Revolution in my classroom.

Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) is a video game by Konami that was released in the arcades of Japan in 1998 and is now available across several home entertainment systems, including Playstation, Wii, and Xbox. 

Players stand on a dance platform with arrows pointing up, down, left, and right. By listening to the music and watching a computer screen, players need to tap the corresponding arrows on the beat. 

There are different levels of difficulty, so game play can range from simple to challenging. On the Nintendo Wii, Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party includes the use of the wii remote. Up to 4 players have to move both their hands and feet to the beat.

Overall, DDR is a high-interest, low-skill activity that appeals to the video-game generation, and as a teacher who continually looks for innovative ways to achieve curriculum expectations through technology, DDR is in my sights.

Using Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) in schools and the classroom

In April 2007, the NY Times reported on how some Physical Education classes are using Dance Dance Revolution to get Grade 7 students moving.

  • A projected 1,500 schools in West Virgina are expected to be using the game by the end of the decade.
  • “At least 10 states” in the US are using DDR as a “regular part of their physical education curriculum” to fight obesity.
  • DDR appeals to school boards and educators as a non-competitive form of movement (compared to traditional sports.)

You could use DDR as an extra-curriculuar club, to meet daily physical activity (DPA) requirements, or as part of a phys-ed program.

  • Most students will be watching the screen and practicing moving to the beat while they wait for their turn on the mats.
  • Depending on how much you’re willing to spend, you could have up to 4 people actually playing on the videogame system.
  • You can set the difficulty level for each player independently, which means that an expert and a beginner could be playing at the same time.

(Student) Responses to using Dance Dance Revolution 

  • “I like that you get to listen to music and you don’t have to be on a team or go anywhere special to play… If you do baseball or basketball, people get really competitive about it.” (Anna, 12)

  • “… you don’t have to be good at it to get a good workout.” (Mikayla, 13)

  • “in sixth grade my health teacher used to let us eat lunch in her room when we were done, we would play it or excersise on her machines.” (Dani)

  • “my cousin does it at school every other friday. it is a great cardio workout, and some people sweat alot while doing it.” (Sarah)

  • “I have this and i actualy sweat… i am also on the hardest form of it though… but your constantly moving and its fun… there is also a setting on the game that shows ur calorie loss and you can put in ur height and weight and it calculates all of your info.” (Unknown)

Pros and Cons of Bringing Dance Dance Revolution into the Classroom

Pros

  • Fun, high interest game that can appeal to some of your weaker athletes.
  • Appeals to multiple intelligences: visual, auditory, musical, kinesthetic, and interpersonal intelligences.

Cons

  • DDR is not a replacement for quality physical educaton instruction. Nor is it a magic solution to fighting obesity. However, it can be part of a healthy-living program moved towards getting students to live healthier lives. 
  • DDR does not appeal to everyone. Strong athletes and competitive students will still look forward to sports and skill-based programming.
  • Some students feel self-concious playing DDR. Because you have to physically move, it’s a litle more “dorky” than playing Guitar Hero or Rock Band which operates on a similar concept of tapping the right button on the beat. However, if you have the entire class “playing the game”, even though only 2 or 4 students are actually using the controllers, they might feel less self-concious.
  • Cost. Many schools have a data projector (or at the very least, televisions), so adding a basic Nintendo Wii ($270, comes with 1 remote controller) and DDR game / mat package ($80) would cost an additional $350 (plus tax).
    • Our ultimate 4-player dream system would include 3 additional DDR mats ($20 per mat, $50 per mat if you want wireless) and 3 additional controllers ($50 per controller), which would cost an additional $300. (If we also got a wii fit balance board, it would cost us an additional $100)

Bringing Wii into the Classroom

Nintendo Wii Remote (Source: Wikipedia)Our current goal is to buy a Nintendo Wii for the classroom. Having worked with high school students on cruise ships, there are several things about the wii platform that appeals to us as educators and technology-enthusiasts.

  1. Nintendo wii uses a motion-sensing remote, so depending on the game, you’re moving your body to swing the tennis racket, roll the bowling ball, or drive the steering wheel.
  2. Nintendo seems to have a knack for developing games that appeal to a larger audience (instead of just the male 12-30 market with first-person shooters and RPGs.)
  3. Wii Fit uses a balance board that you stand on to do a number of strength and balance activities, including yoga, running, and muscle toning exercises.

Fundraising to Get a Wii for your School or Classroom

One way to finance bringing in DDR into the classroom would be to fund-raise for it.  Given that this is a technology-themed project, it might be interesting to use technology to fund-raise for it. (Students would probably be excited to have a goal of buying a Nintendo wii as a school or class project.)

There are several ways to generate money online, although you would have to do research to find out which ones are appropriate for your situation: 

  • Many school boards have policies and procedures outlining the terms of use for board technology and student work.
  • Generating money online typically requires you to be over the age of 18 to sign up for various advertising networks, affiliate programs, or even to get a paypal account.

So, in the meantime, we’re going to use our Shoppers Drugmart Optimum Reward points to buy our Wii. (We already spend too much of our money on technology projects in our classrooms: LCD (data) projector, wireless keyboard).  This way, we buy the things we regularly buy at Shoppers, and when we’ve saved up enough rewards points, we buy our Wii.

How to Get the Most Money Back from the Shoppers Drugmart Optimum Reward Points Program

Shoppers Drugmart currently offers 10 Optimum points when you spend $1. They offer a sliding scale reward system, where 3,500 points is worth $5 of merchandise, however, 75,000 points is worth $150 of products.

From the table, we see that to earn $150 of rewards, if we wait until we get 75,000 points before we cash out, we have to spend $7,500 in the store. However, if you keep on cashing out yur Shoppers Optimum Rewards points when you get $5 or $10 of rewards, then you would have to spend $10,500 of your own money before you had made $150 in rewards. Bottom line is that you get the best return if you wait until you collect 75,000 points before you cash in your rewards. 

But spending $7,500 at Shoppers Drugmart sounds a little ridiculous. We’ll never get our Wii at this rate.

So, that’s why we wait until Shoppers Drugmart runs their special 20x the points sales, where most items are eligilbe for 20x the points. In this case, if we spend $375 of our own money during the 20x the point sale, we can earn $150 of rewards merchandise.  

So. Let’s see how long it takes us to get a wii in the classroom. We’ll keep you posted.

Shoppers Drugmart Optimum Points Dollars Points per dollar To get $150, you need this many points… How much do I have to spend to get that many points How much do I have to spend to get $150 in rewards if I only buy during the 20x the point sales
3,500 $5 700 105,000 $10,500 $525
7,000 $10 700 105,000 $10,500 $525
15,000 $25 600 90,000 $9,000 $450
30,000 $55 545 81,818 $8,182 $409
40,000 $75 533 80,000 $8,000 $400
75,000 $150 500 75,000 $7,500 $375

6 thoughts on “Using Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) in Schools and the Classroom”

  1. Using the wii as an aid to getting needed exercise is a great idea. I know I was concerned with the lack of activity from my own 2 young children because of their constant computer use. It was solved by getting the wii along with a number of the programs that get them moving. I didn’t tell them that’s why we got of of course because I imagine they would have balked LOL

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