Dance Dance Revolution in gym classes

For some reason, I keep coming back to the idea of New Media improving education because I think I am probably going to end up in education (in some capacity or another) so these ideas really appeal to me . . . I saw this article on how DDR is storming P.E. classes on the Times front page this morning. Cool! I think I probably would have loved to play a danced-based video game in P.E. instead of doing all of those things like volleyball, dodge ball, bowling, basketball, t-ball, soccer, etc.

However, one of the quotes irked me a bit/ got me thinking about the future of our country . . . "What you're seeing is a move toward activities where you don't need to be so great at catching and throwing and things like that, so we can appeal to a wider range of kids." Is this a good idea? Are we going to totally breed out the culture of team sports and replace it with video-based simulacrum? I don't really know how I feel about that. It was sort of sad to read the quote from one P.E. teacher about how the kids scream in glee over DDR--but they never had that sort of excited reaction to basketball.

There's something so classically American childhood about playing baseball and basketball, and I don't know if I would advocated a total replacement of these activities with new media forms like DDR. But I do know that getting kids to move who are in threat of becoming overweight and obese is a really good thing, even if it does mean "dancing" on a DDR game during Phys Ed class.

Wow, that's an awesome idea. I just played DDR for the first time rather recently and was surprised that it was easier and much more of a workout than I expected (and also a lot of fun)! But I do agree with you that it shouldn't replace traditional sports entirely... but it's definitely a great option for kids who would never play any sport otherwise.

To make a long story short, my cousin got it for Christmas two years ago and we played 4 days straight. You make a good point that baseball, basketball, football. ect are the backbone of American athletic / sport culture and to totally replace them in gym class would be horrible. DDR would be a good time, but it does not even replace dancing; it's more of a robotic pattern of movement. Just as long as XBox 360 basketball doesn't replace real basketball, I think a little DDR never hurt anyone.

I saw this article too, and it similarly captivates me, as do the comments posted here so far. My first reaction is one of disgust -- "That's not as good as REAL exercise!". But it's more difficult to explain why. This reminds me very much of our discussion of social interaction that is mediated by the web: "An online social life isn't as heathy as a REAL social life" -- but how do we justify this? What makes one less real from the other? How is exercising with DDR different from running on a treadmill? It's solitary and not the "real thing," but still provides the intended workout.

I maintain my disgust, though. I think interaction in PE classes is crucial, especially for young kids. The treadmill comparison still holds: it's better for kids to go out and run together than cruise individually on a treadmill. Besides, it's good to show kids what they can do to exercize when away from PE class. They can job at home, or shoot hoops. They can't necessarily play DDR, though.