Great app to connect Dance to ELA: Dance Writer!

My first unit plan for a recent set of students in the Bronx focused on devising movement. Since many students never had dance before being in my classroom, I wanted to create an experience that made them feel accomplished while building on their prior knowledge. Many of these students had expressed their passion for ELA and mobile devices during my initial assessment of their interests, so for my first few lessons I focused on connecting dance to writing words in both cursive as well as typed font.

I found a terrific app that provided my pupils with confidence and excitement. The app, called Dance Writer, is an easy-to-use app designed by Typotheque that functions on both iPad and iPhone platforms. Simply put, the app converts text into a choreographed sequence of poses based on the shapes of the letters, enabling users to send animated messages to their friends via email, or just enjoy the graceful movement on their own displays.

The app has limitations, and only can change fourteen characters at a time into movement. A second less exciting aspect is the fact that the virtual dancer returns to the neutral position after each executed letter. Conversely, this could provide the class with a worthy scaffolding opportunity into choreographing their own transitions between “movement letters.”

The app costs $2.99, and is definitely worth every penny. If you’re not convinced, or just wish to use it on a less frequent basis, you can also use the application online by clicking here. This free online version allows more than fourteen characters at a time, and offers the user to make changes while the letters are being executed. The online platform is also the best way to use the application on your smart-board.

I give Dance Writer 4 out of 5 stars, since it provided my students with an interesting and enriching experience. This app has a lot of potential, but should definitely be cheaper than the offered price, especially considering it’s offered for free online.

3 thoughts on “Great app to connect Dance to ELA: Dance Writer!”

  1. Dear Pascal, Like you, I was initially excited by an app that enabled me to send messages via “body spelling,” however, after a couple of uses, I found myself craving an app for children by children, using children’s fun, happy and exciting movements for the letters, rather than the slow, controlled (and yes, rather long pauses in between) movement of the beautiful ballet dancer featured. I would like to note that for some learners, this may be the perfect app for the exact reasons why I am not drawn to it. It is slow, gives one time to see each movement into the letter/ shape, and allows one to pause, and see where the next movement/letter/shape begins. For learners who need time to process, this might be the perfect app!

    1. Yes, you are correct in stating that the app does look very mature, and perhaps to mature for younger children. Also, I’m in agreement with the notion that the letter movements are painfully slow, especially after being more familiar with them. The app would benefit from a speed button that would enable the movement word to go faster!

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