View Full Version : WV schools to implement video games in Gym

02-06-2006, 05:14 PM
Gyms in West Virginia won't be just about calisthenics, running, and rope climbing anymore. Middle school kids will be seeing a Revolution. That is, Dance Dance Revolution (DDR).

The state of West Virginia will be putting the ever popular DDR in all of its 157 middle schools, with plans under way to have it implemented in all 753 public schools. Dance Dance Revolution is a game that was first formally introduced in 2001 to the US from Japan. The game's developer, Konami, was very successful with sales ever since they brought the game, selling three million copies within its first year.

The game is simple - directional arrows scroll to the top of the screen to correspond with arrow(s) that appear on-screen. The correct arrow must be played by stepping to the matching arrow on a "dance pad" when it crosses permanent arrows inside the step zone.

Each middle school will initially be given one licensed copy of the game and two metal dance pads. Gym classes will then have either one or two kids on the dance pad, while the other kids in the room would be following along in a line dancing sort of manner.

The proposition for bringing DDR to classrooms arose from the fact that the state suffers with one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the United States. Over the past 25 years, childhood obesity doubled from 15 to 25 percent. In West Virginia, the statistics are much higher. From 1999 to 2005, more than 30,000 fifth graders screened for a coronary artery risk project. The results were startling - almost half of the kids screened (46 percent) were either overweight of obese. Such weight problems can lead to several health risks such as high blood pressure and diabetes, among other things.

While passing by a local arcade, Linda Carson, a professor at West Virginia University's (WVU) Motor Development Center, saw groups of kids playing DDR. Inspired, she then began a study of the benefits of playing DDR and integrating it into state classrroms at WVU, ultimately leading to a pilot program of bringing DDR to 20 middle schools. The results were a success - students responded to the game in numbers and they saw an increase interest and popularity towards the game. Melanie Purkey, director of health promotion for the state's Department of Education stated, "When you're looking at health promotion, [we] do whatever we can to get kids to eat healthier and move more."

The idea of bringing DDR to classrooms is a new twist in the gaming world. Konami and other game development companies are usually blamed for the increase in inactivity in youth, and in particular gaming addiction.

In the past, Konami had received requests from schools and school districts in the US for permission to use DDR in classroom. In fact, Konami started adding "fitness mode" into its game starting with DDR Max (6th version) which allows game players to keep a record of their weight loss and how many calories were burned for each song and game play. However, the game developer had never seen anything as ambitious with their game when West Virginia had proposed the solution.

West Virginia hopes for the best in that kids will lose excess pounds by playing DDR. "If we can get children to change their behavior at a young age they hopefully will grow up to be healthy, active adults, which would have a positive effect on health care costs," says Carl Callison from Mountain State Blue Cross.

02-06-2006, 06:30 PM
I am sticking with dodgeball..

02-06-2006, 06:42 PM
I am sticking with dodgeball..

yeah really :lol: i don't think i'm coordinated enough for ddr

03-03-2006, 09:08 AM
I can't believe I missed this....it'll be interesting to see how this goes over....girls might enjoy dancing in gym class, but I can't see the boys getting thrilled over a 30minute dance lesson!

03-03-2006, 09:12 AM
At least its DDR, which is a damn good workout if you have never tried it, and not some game where you just sit on your ass. I think its a good idea.

03-03-2006, 01:58 PM
I am sticking with dodgeball..

i never once actually played dodgeball in a gym class. im deprived

i kicked ass at camp though...those kids didnt know what they were in for. lol-just kidding. i always went on their side.
:lol: :lol: