Digital tools and technologies are an integral and important component of Kids Make Dance research and programs.

Our goal is to explore the many ways that the Internet, software and technology can be used to create new opportunities for kids to become more actively involved in the dance-making, documentation, assessment and sharing process.

There are a range of digital tools that we’ve started to experiment and will continue to research including:

- Digital Cameras and Video Cameras: These are the building blocks of any technology-enabled dance education program and provide a way for kids and teachers alike to capture, share and assess a program from start to finish. With the introduction of inexpensive and easy-to-use video cameras such as the Flip and the iPod nano, in particular, it has become possible for many more dance programs to integrate video into their events.

- Photo and Video Editing Software Programs: Digital image and video editing software is also widely available and either inexpensive or bundled with new computers. The end result is that both teachers and young students can learn to use these software programs with little or no training to create digital content that can be shared within a class or distributed online through popular video and photo websites.

- Blog and Website Creation Tools: Once digital documentation is created in the form of videos, images and text, the next step is to determine how to share this content online in either a private or public fashion. There are a number of website and blog creation applications that make the process of designing and developing online content straightforward, fast and inexpensive.

- Real-Time Content Creation and Sharing: Dance-focused program content can be created for later sharing and distribution, or can be generated in real-time for instant sharing with the global Internet community and remote audiences. There are many tools (both software and technology) that allows for videos, images and text to be captured and published instantly. Among the tools and applications we research include real-time video streaming from mobile phones and webcams, and instant multimedia posts to blogs and websites. The result is that dance classes and groups can seek real-time feedback from large online audiences.

- Social Media Sites and Services: Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and many others provide fun and productive ways to share dance-making activities with diverse audiences. Through our research and experiments, we explore the best ways to use these social media tools for dance classes and programs.

- Office and Productivity Applications: Online software suites such as Google Documents offer a no-cost approach for sharing lesson plans, assessment approaches and best practices among dance teachers around the globe. In addition the use of smart phones in conjunction with online spreadsheets allows dance teachers to record student progress in a quick and efficient manner.

- Mobile Technologies: Lightweight mobile technologies, especially digital image and video recording devices, continue to grow in popularity and come down in price. We are not too far away from a time when large numbers of dance teachers and students will have compact devices that canĀ  record videos and photos that can be shared instantly with classmates and others around the world. The important and essential question for us is what are the best ways to put these tools to work to enhance the quality and nature of dance educational programs.

If you have thoughts and experiences with using digital tools and technologies in the classroom or studio, please contact Doug Fox.

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