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Technology Moves on Stage in Elementary Dance Education


If research shows that technology has drawbacks of disconnecting students from socially interacting or interpersonal experiences (Kryeziu et al., 2021), why would an elementary dance teacher use it in their classroom? Elementary-aged dancers that practice choreographic skills at a young age using technology are covering unchartered territories that can lead to building bridges through the art of dance (Weber et al., 2021). An elementary dance teacher engages students with the use of technology in the classroom using a balance of live and virtual dance as part of the creative process (Weber et al., 2021).

            The use of an iPad and software systems enhance dance pedagogy (Ostashewski et al., 2016). The iPad is a device that compliments technology use in dance because it has the video, audio, and app features that a students can use during partner or small group work. 

Strategies for using iPads in kindergarten through eighth grade classrooms:

  1. Create a digital music playlist. The music is easy to find; the music can be organized by theme; it serves as an instructional tool because it can be timestamped, paused, and played back, (Ostashewski et al., 2016); playlists can be shared across devices.
  2. Create a video library. Students can work in partner or small group work to access the digital library for reference to practice a specific technique; students can use the video feature to record the process of their dance choreography for peer review; students can access teacher selected videos safeguarded from social media.
  3. Create a digital library. Students can work in partners or trios (small groups) to access photos that represent dance vocabulary; students can use the camera feature to take still photos of poses and postures of dance forms; students can easily save and share photos for multi-media dance projects.

            Despite evidence that use of technology for online or e-learning can cause students to feel isolated, interfere with developing interpersonal skills, or decrease motivation (Schwartzman, 2001 as cited in Kryeziu et al., 2021), an elementary dance teacher overcomes this obstacle with their students. Technology enhances elementary to middle school dance instruction by using myriad of web based platforms that allow students a range of choices to collaboratively work on their choreography and digital literacy skills (Weber et al., 2017).

Suggested web based platforms for kindergarten through eighth grade:  

  1. Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) Dance Maker app:

Students can work independently, in partner or small groups to develop choreography using the Dance Maker app. The Dance Maker app is used to incorporate essential dance vocabulary and develop literacy skills; Meaning-making through visualization of text challenges students to use their bodies as tools (Payne & Costas, 2021). In addition to the app, the iPad software allows students the ability to save their photos to edit and draw images appropriate for their text.

  1. Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Arts Integration Institute: STEAM dance lessons involve activities for students to provide written explanation, diagrams, and designs of their choreographic process. STEAM is rich with multi-media resources for students and interdisciplinary concepts. STEAM Arts Integration Institute provides flexible teaching; students can work on an iPad with partners, or lessons can be presented on a larger screen for whole group guided instruction. Appropriation is used in this platform by public school elementary education dance teachers that incorporates interdisciplinary methods for the diversity of learners in their classroom (Tomlinson, 2019).
  2. Elements of Dance Organization: Students can collaborate to make meaning of essential principles of dance vocabulary and apply it to creative dance choreography. When students are given movement problems to solve in dance, they are using cognitive and physical skills (Payne & Costas, 2021).

            Dance educators recognize that each generation becomes more digital than the preceding and it is imperative to use an interdisciplinary dance-tech approach (Weber et al., 2021). Although social distortion is a concern prompted using technology (Alhumaid, 2019 as cited in Kryeziu et al., 2021), an elementary dance teacher can nurture cooperation and social interaction to foster the relationship skills of their students (Payne & Costas, 2021).

Suggestions for Elementary and Middle School Dance Teachers and Parents:

  • Actively use Go Guardian. Students are protected from what they are exposed to when they are on the internet and the amount of time spent on-line can be monitored.

A mind shift in the use of technology is important for our children, our students:  Why? It is important to keep students from using too much technology when they use it at home and at school.

Technology moves on stage in a dance classroom to provide 21st century learning for students to creatively think, plan, communicate, and collaborate (Ross, 2020).


Natalie J. Davis, NCU Doctoral Student

School of Education, Curriculum & Teaching Program




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