Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Letter to the Superintendent

To Mr. Superintendent,
I am a physical education teacher at this school and want to improve our Physical Education curriculum. I am writing you today in regards to a new technology system called iDance that I think would be very beneficial to our curriculum. I believe that this system will help the students in the Physical Education classes by increasing their heart rate and daily step count.
In today's society, technology, and video gaming, is a very popular activity with students of all ages. Like Dance Dance Revolution, iDance is a gaming system where kids play on mats, and try to complete songs by stepping on the right arrows at the right time. If you would like to see a short video of iDance, click here.
As you can see from the video, this system gets almost all students involved on the mats, and keeps track of their individual scores. As a teacher you can record these scores and track their improvement over the dance unit. You can also see from the video how much the students enjoy this system. I would like to bring this system into the school because it is something new and exciting for the students to experience.
Not only will the students learn how to play the game, but they will improve their locomotor movements by working on jumps and steps. Over time the students reaction time will increase because they will learn how to time their steps by learning to keep beat with the song in their head. I participated in a study at SUNY Cortland, using Dance Dance Revolution, which is like iDacne, on what and how to assess students during this dance unit. We found that heart rate increases 15% from the resting heart rate, which is a great increase. As a physical educator, it is important to me that students be active and get their heart rate up. Along with the increase of heart rate, the students daily step count increased as well. Not only are students learning about the physical aspect of PE, they are being active and involved in the affective domain of PE. In this study, I saw an increase of the positive feedback and encouragement given by students to their peers.
Dance is a lifetime activity that all students should get to experience. During this dance unit, students will not only play on the iDance, but they will also learn classical dances and other level dances, taught to them by the teacher.
iDance can be expensive, but I have already started fundraising. I could write a grant, or even try to get involved with surrounding school districts to purchase one. I know of a school near by trying to get iDance in their schools, and if I talk to them, we could figure out a way to get the system and share it with the community and school districs. We could hold "open dance" where the community can come in and pay a small donation, where teachers teach them dances, and use technology to get them involved in physical activity and dance.
I would love to talk more about this and give you more information and background on the system. Please feel free to contact me at mgradype@gmail.com. I truly believe this system will benefit our students in a very positive way.

Thank you,
Michelle Grady

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