Originally posted July 26, 2017 in EmergingEdTech.

By James Cummings

For some time now, using technology to facilitate learning in K-12 classrooms has been a growing focus in many schools. From art classes to science projects, the technology tools have been increasingly instrumental to enhancing the learning process. But how can technology be applied in physical education classes? In this article, we’ll take a look at some way in which P.E. classes may be improved by using technology.

technologyBenefits of incorporating technology into physical education classes

One of the benefits of incorporating technology into physical education classes is that learning can be enhanced beyond strategies, skills, and rules between individual and team sports. It becomes possible to align physical education with other areas such as maths or geography, and physical activities can be individualized to create optimal challenges for students.

PE Tech Tools 

Physical Education Apps

The boom in mobile technology has provided physical educators with a wealth of tools. There are numerous apps that can be taken advantage of, with some allowing for movement tracking and nutritional help, while others assist in enhancing athletic activities like basketball. Apps involving video and picture analysis can be used to examine athletic movements, and ultimately help to improve physical skills.

Physical educators should not shy away from trial and error while thinking of new ways to use apps in and beyond the classroom. Apps show the breadth of offerings available and can get you thinking about many different possibilities.

Wearable Tech

Wearable technology has changed the way we collect and evaluate personal data. With increasing awareness in physical education departments about the importance of feedback from daily activities, technological tools such as pedometers, smart watches, and heart rate monitors are increasingly being used. With wearable technology, students will be able to track and analyse their heart rates, activity levels, or the number of steps to take within a time frame.

With a pedometer for instance, during a 3 vs 3 basketball game, students may be asked to make predictions on how many steps they think they can take during the game. Once the game is over, they can then chart the steps and do some problem solving into ways to add to their steps for the next game. The open-mindedness and enthusiasm that many students have can be leveraged to not only to improve their physical well-being at this stage, but also to impart lifelong lessons about taking responsibility for their own health.

Virtual Connections 

Effective learning involves two-way communication where students are able to engage in discussion and challenge the teacher’s ideas in order to achieve a deeper understanding. Many classrooms have already started taking advantage of the online world by creating classroom blogs or websites. A classroom website is valuable for encouraging discussion after class, or enabling communication for students applying PE techniques or working on sport practices or exercise outside of classroom.

Another awesome way to leverage virtual connectivity is to invite guests into your classroom via video chat programs such as Skype and Hangouts.

Students can also be encouraged to get involved with online courses about nutrition, exercising, and fitness principles, or web quests geared toward purposeful inquiry.

Gaming Systems

Interactive video games can be invaluable in promoting physical activity of students and are already in use across many physical education centers. They serve as a reasonable alternative to exercising in bad weather and produce results similar to those seen with outdoor physical activity. Physical education teachers can easily tap into students’ love of video games to foster interest in physical education. Video games are extremely engaging and immersive, and can be taken beyond the school environment and continued at home.

Video Resources

As a result of advancements in technology and faster internet becoming available today, it is now possible to stream videos on YouTube and Vimeo. Physical education teachers can take advantage of this and recommend workout videos to students, as well as other types of content which provide useful demonstrations for skill development.

Whether they are dance or yoga videos, students may become so entranced with some YouTube channels that follow them, encouraging them to do even more than the teacher asks. No matter the level of the class, teachers will be able to find age-appropriate videos to share.

Last, but most certainly not least, PE teachers can consider flipping their classes with the help of videos they make demonstrating technique, freeing up time for more application and review in class!

So many possibilities …

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